Phase one of a three step process to connect Mill Creek Parkway to the north bridge is nearing completion. A ribbon-cutting ceremony will celebrate the opening of a small portion of the road at1:30 p.m. Friday.

“The 19th Avenue North corridor is a key element in the growth and development of Clinton,” said Mayor Rodger Holm in a statement. “It will be the catalyst for the creation of new residential homes as well as apartment complexes.”

The roadway extension provides a clear path from the bridge to U.S. 30. Travelers currently have to navigate city roadways to make the connection from the bridge to U.S. 30. The roadwork completed on phase one connects Mill Creek Parkway to Springdale Drive. Phase two will extend the road to Randall Court. The final phase is expected to be completed in 2013.

Dividing the project up into phases was necessary, as funding avenues were still being explored throughout the process. According to City Engineer Jason Craft, the $900,000 phase one was built through federal stimulus dollars.

“We’d like to let the federal government know we’re spending their money,” Craft said, explaining the desire to use the allocated funds quickly. The second phase will be completed this year, before the project is put on hold through 2012. This is necessary to complete a sewer reconstruction on 18th Avenue North, which will be necessary to handle drainage from the completed 19th Avenue North project.

The sewer reconstruction will be funded primarily through an $800,000 grant for the express purpose of sanitary system renovation.

The city will use $475,000 in federal grant money to purchase land needed to complete phase three. In all, $3 million has been spent on the project, and about $2 million is needed to complete it.

“We’re all good to go,” Craft said. “We hope to obligate the additional funding of 19th Avenue North by early 2013 so we can get that project out for bid.”

Craft said that the contractor used for phases one and two provided very competitive, affordable bids.

The project had several vocal detractors in the early stage, as area residents lamented the proposed $6.2 million price tag and the possibility of increased traffic in formerly quiet neighborhoods.

But project supporters argued that the cost would be offset by the eventual tax earnings from properties along the route.

A statement released by Holm said that the development along Mill Creek Parkway is projected to result in the creation of thousands of jobs when completed.

New housing developments as a result of job growth could also result, according to the statement.

Funding for the project has come from tax dollars and the Clinton County Development Association. Additionally, U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Dubuque) secured nearly half a million dollars in federal funds for the project.

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