(Editor’s Note: After last week’s story was written regarding Twin Falls’ downtown project, the timing of the two phases was changed. This story provides the correct timetable.)

A busy and walkable downtown plays a unique role in the economic development of a city. Capitalizing on that concept, Twin Falls is finalizing plans to revitalize five blocks along Main Avenue in an effort to create a stronger community center. The goal is to engage the community in social and economic activity in a central location through events and amenities. In general, community engagement eventually reaches a critical mass that will then spur additional economic growth by way of thriving property values, new jobs, tourism, and city pride.

The city council unanimously approved a preliminary design in August with the hopes of implementing it over the next two construction seasons. Completion of the project is slated for October of 2017. The first phase, which will begin in the spring of 2016, will focus on improving walkability by constructing new sidewalks, streetscapes, landscaping, and lighting, as well the demolition of a large building to make room for a public plaza.  The second phase will add new infrastructure to the area by replacing water, sewer, and utility lines to accommodate current and future businesses.

The city has allocated $100,000 to incorporate public art throughout the project, including an arch across Main Street as an identifying feature of downtown. The total estimated cost of the entire project is estimated to be around $12 million depending on what features are included in the final design.