The new Guthrie may be the Mill District's most visible new constructiont, but the city will also build roads in the area this summer.
In July, construction will begin to extend Chicago Avenue to connect North 2nd Street & Washington Avenue South. A similar connection will be made one block west on 9th Avenue South. A stormwater retention tank is being built underneath Chicago Avenue to filter trash and sediment from street runoff before it empties into the river.
Once the extension is complete, Chicago Avenue will end at a public plaza that will descend to West River Road between the new Guthrie and the Humboldt Lofts and Mill City Museum. "Chicago Plaza" will blend with the slightly higher Guthrie plaza just to the east, with stairs and a planting bed in between, said Anne Calvert, the city's principal project coordinator.
Although the plaza is not a through street, vehicles will use part of it for lofts parking and museum deliveries, she said. A line of concrete bollards, or possibly a shallow trench, will divide the driveway from the pedestrian area.
The plaza's north end will be terraced down to West River Road by steps and "giant" stairs the size of three pedestrian stairs, Calvert said.
Although Calvert said that though all bids are not yet in, the project cost could be around $2 million. The effort should be completed by early 2006.
Calvert said the two public ramps in the area now being built would eventually be hidden by the St. Anthony Mills housing development and a second development that will "wrap around" the ramps on at least two sides. That construction could be finished in 2006 or 2007.