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      Franklin Street slated for expensive improvements

      More improvements are coming soon to one of the main arteries leading to downtown Kirksville.

      The project is broken up into two phases.

      Phase One will start this summer.

      It includes six blocks of Franklin Street that are slated for new sidewalks, new lighting and new park benches.

      The improvements will be made along the west side of Franklin from Normal Street north to Washington Street.

      The project will be bid out to a private contractor, and revenue from the Downtown TIF Fund will pay for it all.

      "This is just another step in the process of improving the central core of the city, and ... we're using the TIF dollars to make those improvements. We've not just done beautification improvements; we've done infrastructure improvements. We've improved water lines throughout the downtown,?? said Mari Macomber, Kirksville city manager.

      Macomber told KTVO $450,000 has been budgeted for Phase One of this project, but it's expected to cost less than that.

      Phase One work should start this summer and be done by the end of the year.

      Phase Two is slated to be done in 2013. It includes improvements to Franklin Street from Normal Street south to Patterson Street.

      Macomber said all parking along that section will be eliminated to make room for a landscaped median down the center of Franklin Street.

      She said there will still be a couple of loading/unloading zones near Truman State University??s Student Union Building and Centennial Hall.

      Macomber said the Kirksville TIF Commission is working with Ameren Missouri to determine how much it would cost to have the power lines along that section of Franklin Street buried to make the area more aesthetically pleasing.

      She said it will be very expensive, but no dollar amount has been determined yet.