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City council to decide road, sidewalk closures for Ninth and Elm

The Columbia City Council will vote Monday to close roads and sidewalks for a year while construction continues on Ninth and Elm Streets.

The plans, posted on the city’s website, calls for the closure of the westbound lane of Elm Street, while Trittenbach Development builds a “mixed use” building at the downtown corner where Shakespeare’s Pizza used to stand. Crews will also close part of the sidewalk on the Ninth Street side of the lot, shifting traffic heading south on the street. The developer will also provide a scaffolding for pedestrians as the construction begins on the higher levels of the building.

A letter from the Downtown Community Improvement District lodges concerns with the way the owner, McAlester Park LLC, plans to handle trash. The letter, signed by executive director Katie Essing, opposed the plan for the trash compactor’s placement in the alley between Elm and Locust Streets, and recommends “that trash service be built within the building for the residents and commercial business use.

“As our downtown continues to grow and thrive, it is imperative for new projects to consider the potential impact, both of construction and upon completion, to the overall downtown community,” the letter said.

In response, the city staff attachment says the developer will speak with Columbia Public Works on the trash issue during the plan review process.

Work began at the corner of Ninth and Elm Streets in June, with the demolition of Shakespeare’s Pizza. The iconic restaurant moved around the block while construction takes place for the next year. Shakespeare’s manager Kurt Mirtsching said then that the restaurant will have a 50-year lease on the first floor of the building when it opens, with completion of the building slated for August 2016.

If approved, the city will close both lanes of Elm Street for two weeks to start for sewer work. The Public Works department said in an email that work will begin August 5 and last until August 15. Only the eastbound lane will be re-opened after crews complete the sewer work.

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