2018-03-04 / Insight

Gateway project to finish this year

810-452-2616 • pfoley@mihomepaper.com

IMLAY CITY — Imlay City Manager Tom Youatt is calling the city’s plans to create an entrance on its southern border “a game changer.”

When people from points south stream into Imlay City later this summer for the Eastern Michigan State Fair, they’ll be greeted by a whole new look.

Late last summer city commissioners approved a plan to landscape M-53 between Newark Road and I-69. They had hoped to have the work done last fall, but the schedule bumped up against state and federal approval process.

Youatt said they’re now looking to start the project in late May or early June and have things finished in four weeks. The project is expected to cost the city about $150,000.

Starting where the pavement transitions from asphalt to concrete just south of Lucky’s Steakhouse, the city will remove 400 feet of unusable center turn lane and transform it into a landscaped median surrounded by brick pavers. Youatt said the city will put in flowering perennials, shrubs and trees and install the same LED lighting it installed along Almont Avenue and the Polly Ann Trail.

He added a brick welcome sign will be installed just north of the I-69 overpass.

“The idea,” he said, “is to slow down traffic and improve safety.”

Youatt said the city gateway project is just the first of several infrastructure projects set for the next few years.

Next year the city expects to replace sewers near the Canadian National Railroad bridge over M-53. Part of that project, said Youatt, will be to add pedestrian paths under the bridge and transforming the arch deco bridge into a city sign similar to those found along I-75 from Auburn Hills to Georgia.

The following year, Youatt said, the city has its sights set on rebuilding Fourth Street from M-53 to Blacks Corners Road. The project will be similar to the Bancroft Street project, which replaced everything from the pavement to the underground utilities.

“Things are turning around,” Youatt said. He said the city is in the process of completing its Redevelopment Ready process and there’s a renewed interest in traditional downtown properties.

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