The first step in a long-awaited project – the redevelopment of Beckwith Street in Smiths Falls – was taken with the awarding of a contract at a town council meeting on May 15.
Smiths Falls councillors voted to an endorse a staff recommendation to accept an $85,000 quote from Parsons Corporation to “deliver a functional streetscape design for Beckwith Street within the downtown core.”
In response to a request for proposals for the project released on March 24, responses were received from four engineering firms. Although Parsons was not the lowest bidder, town Director of Public Works and Utilities Troy Dunlop noted that the financial aspects of each proposal made up only 30 per cent of the criteria used to rank the proposals. “We were looking very much at the experience of the teams who were submitting,” said Dunlop.
The Parson team will be led by transportation and urban planner Ron Clarke, who has 29 years’ experience, said Dunlop.
The firm’s role will be to carry out a traffic study, document all existing infrastructure within the Beckwith Street corridor, present recommendations regarding parking, develop a functional streetscape design, and present cost estimates for the entire project.
The redevelopment of Beckwith Street will include renewal of existing water, sewer, drainage and road infrastructure. “If we were just building a street status quo, we wouldn’t have to go through this process,” said Dunlop. However, the Beckwith redevelopment is also critical to the town’s vision for the redevelopment of its waterfront, and the entire downtown core.
Dunlop said public consultations for the project will began shortly after Labour Day, and initial cost estimates should arrive in October, to help in the process of applying for funding. A deadline for approval of the plan by council has been set for January 2018.
“This is a pretty exciting time,” commented Councillor Chris Cummings. “It’s another piece in a puzzle that we’re slowly chipping away at.”