The city has recently invested in a downtown improvement project intended to enhance the visibility and vitality of its historic downtown and improve its public spaces to increase a sense of place for its heart of the community.

UPDATE Aug. 25: The 24-hour city parking lot at Lewis Street and Second Avenue remains closed through November. Construction manager RJM is coordinating with the downtown businesses and residents on temporary closures and relocations. Check out for traffic impacts.



The City Council approved design plans for the Downtown Improvements Project at its June 6 meeting.

Based on funding available and the needs of downtown, three projects were identified to be completed in the first phase:

River City Plaza

A new entry feature at the end of the Highway 101 bridge, including landscaping, signage and public art. Creates a visual link to First Avenue where there will also be new landscaping, paving and public art.

Gateway Plaza

An entry gateway at the First Avenue East intersection with Highway 101. Includes landscaping on both sides of First Avenue and in the median, as well as specialty pavement, public sculpture and crosswalks to Huber Park.

Lewis Street Parking Lot

Reconstruction of parking lot using asphalt paving with exception along Lewis Street frontage. Includes demolition of sidewalks and parking lot and installation of pavers or colored concrete on Lewis Street, concrete curbing, power modules, lighting, a rain garden median and silva cells for trees that will support tree growth and help in surface water management.


The three proposed projects are estimated to cost $2.21 million ($1.9 million in construction). Funding sources:

  • $1.5 million from the city's Economic Development Fund, set aside over three years
  • $300,000 from the Capital Improvements Fund for Lewis Street parking lot and alley
  • $350,000 from Storm Water Fund for Lewis Street parking lot
  • $30,000 from city tree fund for landscaping
  • $30,000 from a Scott County Community Development Agency grant

Potential Future Improvements

As part of the public realm study, the city's consultants identified several additional potential improvements to the downtown, including:

  • Complete Phase 2 of Huber Park
  • Connect to the pedestrian bridge
  • Enhance existing streetscape
  • Create a gateway into downtown
  • Develop a multi-use parking lot
  • Create an entrance feature at bridge
  • Develop a park linkage to the underpass