City officials and downtown businesses have had many meetings lately to discuss the final construction to take place on Pioneer Blvd., and the consensus is that construction will begin very soon.
The plan that businesses and city government are leaning toward is to: remove the bulb-out planters protruding from the sidewalk into the street; to have two lanes of travel along Pioneer Blvd.; install a center promenade; widen existing sidewalks; and landscape the area with trees, fountains, and other amenities for the benefit of downtown visitors.
Pioneer Blvd. is a project that's been long in the making. It's also had many hardships and delays.
The funding was first secured by a bond in 2007. From that point, the City began doing studies, having town hall meetings, and creating plans for the development.
In 2011, the okay was given to begin construction, but the construction was delayed because the County Sanitation District had a major infrastructure improvement to the sewage system below the street.
In March 2012, the City commenced construction, but during that time redevelopment agencies were being disbanded all across the state. While Pioneer Blvd. was a bond project and not a redevelopment project, it was being processed by the Artesia Redevelopment Agency at that time. Because it was being processed by Artesia's Redevelopment agency, the State denied the use of these funds.
But the City fought to get those funds back, and thanks to the hard work of city staff and city council, those funds were returned.
Finally, with the cooperation of the businesses and the residents, the City is now set to begin construction on what will be a grand project.