Illinois– The city of Bloomington is deciding on a potential re-use for a building in the downtown area that an insurance firm is vacating. One suggestion for the 89-year-old structure is a new city hall, while others call for office space and light retail. While the exact designation is unclear the size of the building would make it a good fit for a public-private partnership (P3).
The insurance company is finishing up renovations on the building this month that include upgrading the lighting, cafeteria, restrooms, wiring and heating. The city plans to take up the topic along with a library-transit project at its upcoming city council meeting. The project would involve tearing down the Market Street parking garage and building a new library and transit hub in its place.
New Jersey– High commuter, bus and pedestrian traffic volume sometimes makes the Walter Rand Transportation Center an extremely congested place. However, the city of Camden intends to overhaul the area for growth with a new transportation center.
An engineering firm has provided a design that would include 25 bus bays which would be located off the street and under cover for safe boarding and transfers and a walking bridge over traffic to the nearby Port Authority Transport Corporation Hi-Speedline station. Preliminary costs for the center range from $150 million to $175 million. There is also a need for street-level improvements and city officials have looked at future possibilities such as a mixed-use hub. The city is considering a public-private partnership to finance the much-needed projects.
Massachusetts– The town of Sandwich is discussing ways it can reduce the cost of a $30 million wastewater treatment plant. The Sandwich Economic Initiative Corporation has held discussions on wastewater and plans to visit the neighboring town of Easton that built its treatment plant through a public-private partnership (P3). The town of Easton is also able to keep sewer rates low since it partnered with other towns to treat its sewage.
Sandwich officials received a state grant of $34,500 from the District Local Technical Assistance program and has considered using it to communicate with its residents on what needs to be done to ensure water quality. Sandwich developed a wastewater plan in 2015 in accordance with Section 208 of the federal Clean Water Act. The town must file updates annually and this requirement was met by the wastewater consultant for the city in August 2017. The report recommends that Sandwich build three wastewater plants over a 60-year period. Along with a P3, Sandwich officials are also considering implementing a tax surcharge.
Iowa– Work to clear concrete and parking lots where a casino used to dock recently finished up on the Davenport riverfront as the city begins planning for the next phase of Main Street Landing. By summer of 2018, the city plans to begin construction on the first phase of the project, installing a flex lot. This parking lot will include landscaping, seating and room for food trucks. As for the remaining area, design teams have released images showing an amphitheater at the foot of the skybridge, as well as an event lawn and playground.
The entire project could cost tens of millions of dollars, so the city council will have to decide which parts to implement over the next several years. The city has not yet decided on a final plan but is considering a public-private partnership, which could include commercial space or a restaurant.