Streetscape (strēt'skāp') The visual elements of a street, including the road, adjoining buildings, sidewalks, street furniture, trees and open spaces, etc., that combine to form the street's character.
Newton has identified North and South Van Buren and the town square as a “signature area” critical to the successful development of downtown Newton and the Eagle Trail project. The view and ambience of the square and Van Buren Street is cited as the element that will make Newton unique. Newton hopes to make this area more attractive to residents and visitors as a place to hold downtown festivals, events, concerts and other activities to support downtown businesses and lead individuals down to the Eagle Trail. The improvements will have other benefits such as calming aesthetics for pedestrians and handicapped accessibility and comfort.
The Streetscape project contributes:
Revitalization of downtown Newton
Improving pedestrian mobility in the downtown area down to the Old Mill Bridge and the Eagle Trail
Potentially spurring new private investment in downtown Newton
This project creates a visually enhanced sidewalk around the square and new sidewalks north of the square that is designed to attract people to downtown Newton and down North Van Buren to the Eagle Trail.
Improvements included new, terra cotta brick-imprinted sidewalks around the square, ramps with handrails, new antique-black street lamps as well as businesses on the square having their utilities moved from basements to convenient outside locations for ease of access.
Bricking a walkway is expensive and labor intensive. Around the square in Newton the impressive terra cotta brick is actually tinted concrete that is poured, leveled and then a faux brick stencil is placed onto the wet concrete. It is rolled into place and typically one or two passes is efficient to keep the stencil from being imbedded too deeply. When the concrete is cured sufficiently, the stencil is then removed.
It is estimated that the antique-black street lamps will have arrived and be in place in August.
The estimated total project cost is $1.3 million dollars from a federal grant with IDOT as administrator.
The great work goes to Bodine Electric-Decatur, A. J. Walker-Mattoon and CCI Ready Mix-Newton, Milano & Grunloh Engineers-Effingham along with the City of Newton.
Streetscape continues with Part II, Eagle Trail.