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City begins W. Fifth Street public input process

SHERIDAN — Plans for reconstruction of West Fifth Street have been underway for approximately one year, but the rubber really began to hit the road at a visioning workshop held Monday and Tuesday at Grace Anglican Church on West Fifth Street.

Hosted by the city of Sheridan, the workshop allowed nearby residents and business owners to examine initial plans for the project and offer input on everything from pathway placement and design to street width to the choice of lighting and trees.

“This project is to reconstruct West Fifth Street from Mydland Road all the way to the end of the asphalt,” City Project Manager Joe Schoen said. “What we’re looking at now, today, is starting that process of looking at it, asking people what they want it to look like before we start design.”

The city has completed a reconnaissance report for the area, as well as some aerial photography and surveying, in order to determine cost estimates for a variety of reconstruction options.

City staff and consultants Russell + Mills Studios out of Fort Collins, Colo., will strive to incorporate public input into the design as plans move forward.

Schoen said a steady amount of people had stopped by the visionary workshop in the old country club property on West Fifth Street. He said key issues have been the view shed, pathways, lighting, tree placement and road width.

Craig Russell, a partner in Russell + Mills Studios, said most people have wanted a detached, meandering pathway only on the south side of the road that will be separated from the road with a tree-lined boulevard to protect the view shed for residents who live on the north side of West Fifth Street. Additionally, most people have leaned toward functional rather than decorative lighting, Russell said. Input on lane width has varied between two- and three-lane and combinations of the two.

“We’re trying to maintain a combination of the rural character of the area with the fact that it will become a gateway as the West Fifth Street beltway comes in,” Russell said, noting that elements such as split-rail fences will be included in the design.

The West Beltway is another project that was first discussed about eight years ago, Schoen said. It would be a combined project of the city, the county and the Wyoming Department of Transportation. The city has begun to secure right of way for the beltway with its Northwest Water Loop project and will complete a reconnaissance report on the proposed area soon.

At this point, the beltway is proposed between the North Sheridan Interchange and West Fifth Street, Schoen said. Work would not begin until after West Fifth Street and the North Sheridan Interchange were complete, which could be up to 20 years away.

“The goal is to get it connected to the state highways so that if ever WYDOT were to maintain it, the city were to maintain it, the county were to maintain it, everything connects. It’s all about connectivity,” Schoen said. “It’s big picture looking right now, and we’re starting to get focused on how it’s going to connect.”

Schoen said the biggest challenges on the West Fifth Street project will involve annexation and right of way issues. Properties immediately adjacent to the north side of the street, west of Mydland Road, are county owned. The land north and west of those properties and adjacent to the south side of West Fifth Street is city owned. The city has no plans to annex the county properties, but it does hope to annex Fifth Street from Kentucky Avenue to the end of the pavement with a 135-foot right of way.

The West Fifth Street project is slated in the city’s capital improvement plan to begin in 2018, but Schoen said design could begin this winter and construction could begin in two to three years. The project is currently estimated to cost approximately $3 million, depending on which options are used.

About

Hannah Wiest is the government and outdoors reporter for The Sheridan Press. She has lived in Colorado and Montana but loves her sunny home state of Wyoming best. She joined The Press staff in February 2013.

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