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Snider Plaza Improvements

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Saturday, September 24 at 3 p.m. - UP @ the Library Family Time.

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Tuesday, October 4, 2022 - City Council Meeting

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Tuesday, October 18, 2022 - City Council Meeting

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Snider Plaza Improvements

July 20, 2022

Parking, infrastructure, landscaping and other desired improvements to Snider Plaza have been the focus of multiple City Councils for many years. In 2018, the City engaged Paris Rutherford of the Catalyst Group to facilitate a series of public meetings to identify such improvements and make follow-up recommendations to the City.  

Acting on these recommendations, the City engaged Pacheco Koch civil engineers to design needed water and sewer replacement. In 2019, the City also re-engaged the Catalyst Group to facilitate the detailed design of related landscape and other amenity improvements working with Space Between Landscape Studio. These were brought to the public in a series of virtual public meetings in the Spring of 2020, to bring forward a design recommendation, along with anticipated costs, to City Council in Fall 2020.

This multi-phase project involves 1) the replacement of water, sanitary sewer, and storm water utilities in and around Snider Plaza, and 2) surface improvements that will include new pavement, landscaping, pedestrian amenities, and parking enhancements.

 

Phase I Utility Replacement - Completed

The construction to replace existing water and wastewater lines in alleys servicing properties in Snider Plaza, from Daniel to Westminster, and on Hillcrest between Daniel and Lovers Lane is compete. SYB Contracting began construction in mid-May of 2021, with construction originally scheduled to continue through Fall of 2022. SYB finished the project about 6 months ahead of schedule..   

Click here to view the neighborhood meeting.
Click here to view the presentation from the neighborhood meeting.
Click here to view a schedule of current project phasing.  


Phase II Surface Improvements - Slated for 2023 

The City is moving forward with construction documents from the approved conceptual design of Fall 2020. Additionally, the City brought on Teague Nall and Perkins to prepare plans, specifications, and estimates for this full design project, to incorporate the landscape plans and take the project through construction. Construction for the roadway, landscape and other surface improvements is slated for 2023. 

A work session with City Council was held on April 12, 2022 to provide an update on the status of plans and gain input on various design elements. Video of that meeting can be viewed by clicking here

City staff provided the City Council and community with another update on plans and design components during the Council's July 19, 2022 Meeting.  View the presentation by clicking here.


Background
Since the City’s inception in 1924, Snider Plaza has proudly served as our community’s downtown.  Over the decades countless news stories and campus yearbooks have chronicled the Plaza as the preferred choice for shopping, dining and catching up with neighbors.  While the Plaza enjoys unwavering popularity and its charms are unquestioned, there remains two constants. 

Parking -- When asked for thoughts on how this community treasure can be improved, fixing the Plaza’s parking issues is commonly what visitors and tenants reference.  Indeed, since the early 1970’s, the City of University Park, Snider Plaza stakeholders, and numerous community members have studied how to solve parking shortcomings.  Unfortunately, due to the lack of potential acreage for new parking and with little consensus on the best way to reconfigure the Plaza’s existing parking slots, these efforts have come and gone without resolution.  As the City has moved closer to beginning needed repairs on the Plaza’s underground infrastructure, much discussion has also taken place on how to minimize merchant and customer inconvenience during months of construction.  In 2017, the City took proactive steps to clear these hurdles with the acquisition of land near Snider Plaza. Then in 2019, the City entered into a parking license agreement with the owners of Hilltop Plaza. Both the City-owned property and the leased parking spaces will be critical components of easing parking concerns during construction. The City's property along Rankin will become a temporary construction staging site, while the leased spaces at Hilltop Plaza will provide parking for displaced Plaza employees.  Following infrastructure improvements, the City hopes to develop a long-term parking solution.  This effort will focus on using the City-owned land, its shared parking agreement with Hilltop Plaza, and as part of the creation of a Public Improvement District, the implementation of a parking management program.

Infrastructure – While the below grade utilities that were installed in the 1920’s have dutifully served the Plaza, the infrastructure is degraded and now beginning to fail.  As you may have noticed in recent water main failures and flooding, we have reached a point where we can no longer avoid the need to improve and replace these lines.  As this will involve some inconvenience, the City believes the community should consider all of the opportunities at hand to make Snider Plaza an even better reflection of the heart of University Park through this renovation process.