City of Gadsden to review riverfront possibilities

December 24, 2015 chris
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By Sarrah Peters

News Editor

The Gadsden City Council unanimously passed a resolution on Tuesday, December 15 for an exclusive agreement with Cyprus Partners to provide an analysis for development of city-owned property on the Coosa riverfront.

According to the city’s press release, during the six-month agreement, Cyprus “will include analysis of new public facilities and private investment to facilitate a mixed-use development, along with determination of the economic viability of hospitality, retail, dining, residential and riverfront redevelopment in the market.”

This information will allow the City of Gadsden and Cyprus Partners to “work together to achieve the most viable master plan for the City’s long-term benefit,” according to the press release.

For this phase of developmental research, Cyprus Partners will perform the work at no cost to the City of Gadsden.  

After the six-month research phase, the city  and Cyprus will determine whether or not both parties still have an interest in the project of developing the Coosa riverfront, which may depend on whether or not there is sufficient interest from public and private sectors.  If both agree, the two will enter into another six-month agreement. During this time, detailed drawings will be developed. 

If the plans are determined to be financially feasible, the City of Gadsden will enter into a final agreement with Cyprus Partners to execute the development on the Coosa riverfront.

This project is not the first development  of the  Coosa riverfront in Gadsden. In August, the Gadsden City Council unanimously approved a bid for a riverfront park development on the Coosa River. The bid was awarded to Bob Smith Construction, Inc. of Trussville. 

The project was estimated to cost $3.5 million, but through negotiations and changes to the plan, the council cut $1.1 million from the project cost. The project was awarded at a cost of $2.4 million. The city will not have to borrow any money for the project. The majority of the funds will be provided from bond reissues. The rest, about $312,000, will be taken from the tax increment financing fund, or TIFF fund. 

The riverfront park project is estimated to be finished in late spring or early summer.

According to Heath Williamson, City of Gadsden’s Director of Engineering, the project will consist of the construction of improvements along the east bank of the Coosa River, due south of the Broad Street Bridge. The park will stretch along the riverfront from the Coosa Landing Marina to behind the old Hobby Lobby building.

The planned improvements include new sidewalks with sufficient lighting, boardwalks, a pedestrian bridge, pedestrian lighting, landscaping, river bank stabilization, two fixed docks and a picnic pavilion.