The Florida Department of Transportation has agreed to fund some landscaping changes to Reynolds Street as part of the city’s downtown vision plan.
In a further win for downtown, the Florida Department of Transportation has agreed to fund the bump outs and landscaping project pitched along Reynolds Street in downtown Plant City.
The idea began to come to fruition when Community Design Solutions, a consultant group hired by Plant City Main Street and the City of Plant City, showed a mockup of what the street could look like if there was greenery strategically placed along the sides of the road. The hope is that landscaped bump outs will naturally slow the flow of traffic along the road and make pedestrians feel more at ease walking along the edge of downtown.
Reynolds Street is a state-owned road, so all renovations would have to come from the Florida Department of Transportation.
“FDOT agreed to focusing on the bump outs,” City Manager Bill McDaniel said. “We’ve been working with FDOT quite a while for various things and this was something we felt could be done quickly and easily and make a major difference in our city. That’s been an issue we have had our eye on for a while. We’ve seen the potential, but the vision plan we now have helps really focus our efforts.”
The bump outs and landscaping will run alongside Reynolds Street between Evers Street and Palmer Street. McDaniel said the plan is for FDOT to set aside funding for the project at the start of the upcoming fiscal year and then hopefully begin construction come October. The bump outs will hug both sides of the road except for the northeast intersection because of a traffic box and a double driveway at the location, which cannot be blocked by plant life.
“In the overall scheme of things happening at FDOT, I’m sure this does seem like a simple project. I mean, they build interstates and tackle these massive projects,” McDaniel said. “But this is going to be a project that will directly affect our community and we are very thankful to have their support for the vision of our downtown. With them making it a point to start right away on this, it gives us the flexibility to look at the roadways we own and the area under our care to see where they fit in our vision. There’s a lot of changes coming to downtown and I think everyone is excited to see what is in store.”
Evers Street, Collins Street, Palmer Street and the cross-streets of Drane and J. Arden Mays are all under the city’s care and McDaniel said he wants a cohesive design so they “flow with each other.” With FDOT on board, it appears that the ball has officially begun to roll and the other aspects of the vision plan will soon fall into place.