One piece of a community-wide dream to develop public space along the Wabash River is close to becoming a reality in Lafayette, thanks largely to private donors.
If the promenade project stays on track, pedestrians could be strolling along the riverfront promenade in the fall of 2017.
The city has advertised for subcontractors to bid on the construction of the promenade, a public walkway that will start at Riehle plaza on its north end and stretch south to the South Street and Columbia Street bridges.
Lafayette Mayor Tony Roswarski said the project will require a high level of coordination among the city, the private developer of the forthcoming MARQ apartments and the Old National Bank headquarters and the Wabash River Enhancement Corporation (WREC).
Because the promenade will be close to the bank building and apartments already under construction, the city and WREC hired the same construction manager in charge of private development.
But the city and WREC are building different sections of the property, and each will separately hire subcontractors to build their respective segments of the walkway.
"That part needs to be carved out from the other, so there's transparency," said Roswarski, "And we'll do the very best we can."
Each will use different funds to pay for the work, raising some questions about how open the bidding and building process will be.
Roswarski says he believes taxpayers will be able to see how the city dollars are spent.
"[Construction firm] Edwards-Rigdon will be managing that contractor and coordinating all that work with the other phase of the bidding process that will go through the Wabash River Enhancement Corporation," he said.
The city allocated $600,000 in bond proceeds for development. North Central Health Services President and CEO Stephanie Long said her group awarded a $2.2 million grant to WREC, which will pay for the section from the MARQ down to the twin bridges.
Roswarski expects construction to start later this fall and be completed within a year.