Local leaders worked for years to secure funding to see the $50 million project through to completion, learning in 2005 that a draft five-year plan presented to the Iowa Department of Transportation Commission revealed it was one of five Clinton County projects on the state’s priority list.
At that time, the DOT had already contacted some property owners about acquisition, utilizing a $1 million Liberty Square allocation from 2004. Clinton secured $13.6 million in federal funding for Liberty Square in the federal transportation reauthorization bill passed by Congress at that time as well.
Since the late 2000s, the area has been in the midst of paving and grading projects with property acquisition and demolition beginning before that.
Now, more than a decade later, Liberty Square work has wound down to completion, opening up what was once a blighted area to development that will make the area the grand entrance into Clinton that leaders have imagined for years.
“It is the gateway to the community. Everyone who travels to Clinton, travels through Clinton, will see Liberty Square,” City Engineer Jason Craft told the Clinton Herald.
“This will increase driving efficiency and safety,” he said. “Anytime you have a parallel one-way system where traffic only go the area should not be congested, ever. Not to mention it will be a smooth driving surface.”
The project also resolves some drainage issues that plagued the former Camanche Avenue because of how flat the road was and the combined sewer system.
Of the $50 million cost, Liberty Avenue cost $15 million with $3.5 million coming from the city and the remainder coming from the federal government and state.Camanche Avenue also cost $15 million, with the city pitching in $2.5 million and the state and federal governments paying the remaining $12.5 million.
Another $20 million went toward land acquisition. The city owns most of the interior lots between Camanche and Liberty avenues. The city has money set aside to purchase the parcels that are still owned by the state once the state is ready to hand them over, which could take up to a year or longer on the properties west of 13th Avenue South, city officials said in September.