Plant City awards contract for Wheeler Street fix
PLANT CITY -
A Lithia company has been awarded a nearly $1.58 million contract to realign a portion of Wheeler Street to eliminate an awkward intersection.
OGS Development Inc. is expected to start work in May or June. The project is expected to take six to nine months, City Manager Greg Horwedel said.
The project includes the realignment of Wheeler Street, reconstruction of Refro Street and extension of Alabama and Warren streets, among other work that will create a new city block.
The work is part of the redevelopment of Midtown, an 85-acre area south of downtown that’s mostly commercial. The vision for the Midtown area is a pedestrian- and family-friendly atmosphere within easy walking distance of downtown shops and restaurants.
The city hopes this summer to advertise for a developer to buy the publicly-owned land and start construction of shops and housing, although no one knows when work might begin. The city owns only a fraction of Midtown but it hopes the redevelopment, when it does start, will spark the area's rebirth.
The vast majority of Midtown – about 61 acres – is in private hands and includes businesses and industries, with a smattering of homes. The city is banking that once a developer starts building on the 14 acres it owns, other owners will follow suit.
Midtown is roughly bounded by historic downtown on the north, Alsobrook and Merrick streets on the south, Thomas and Walker streets on the west and the north-south CSX railroad tracks running parallel and east of Collins Street on the east.