The City of Elkhart’s Main Street Reconstruction project received an American Public Works Association – Iowa Chapter Project of the Year Award at their fall conference on Thursday, September 30, 2021. These awards recognize the managing agency, the consultant/engineer, and the contractor who, working together, complete public works projects. Projects across the State of Iowa are rated on construction schedule, management, and control techniques; safety performance; environmental considerations; community relations; and unusual accomplishments under adverse conditions.
The City of Elkhart is a small community on the northeast side of the Des Moines metro that is rapidly expanding with new home construction. The community had not done a major project in decades. While exploring funding scenarios for a variety of projects, the downtown became a focus of improvement. The city was unaware of the State of Iowa’s State Revolving Fund (SRF) Sponsored Projects program where interest rates were essentially forgiven if the money was applied toward a watershed-based project that addresses water quality issues.
After community visioning occurred, the project team looked at ways to use SRF Sponsored Project funds in the downtown area. Elkhart staff worked with Bolton & Menk to develop a pervious paver system along Main Street, creating underground rock chambers to not only treat water through percolation in the soil, but also slow the rate of water entering new residential areas, causing flooding downstream. Residential areas were affected by improving Main Street’s stormwater system, ensuring the project was economically driven and minimal impacts were caused citywide.
This project not only improved the City of Elkhart’s sustainability, but it also improved the downtown transportation elements. The city’s downtown corridor lacked parking and functionality. A variety of industrial traffic still operates in the area along with everyday vehicular traffic and pedestrians. The city has a transportation company with constant semi-truck traffic, a mechanic, restaurants, bars, and a post office. The project team worked with all Main Street businesses to design a downtown revitalization project that considered all the heavy-used vehicular traffic while still providing the environmental components required by the state funding grant sources. Businesses now have functional parking spaces, keeping residents and visitors safe when visiting downtown.
Learn more about how we incorporate additional elements, like sustainability, into our transportation projects here!