MANSFIELD -- The history of Main Street in Mansfield will be part of a $12.7 million improvement project.
The Downtown Improvement Advisory Board on Thursday approved spending up to $12,000 to install a dozen static "sign posts" along the corridor from First Street to Sixth Street during a project expected to begin in the spring of 2025.
Bob Bianchi, the city engineer, told the board the city's successful federal $7.38 million Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) grant included a historic component.
The "Main Street through Postcards" plan would place 12 static posts along the corridor. Each would have a picture and a QR code on it. Each "story" would be about 300 words in length.
"You take your phone, scan the QR code and then you can learn about that particular part of the corridor, whether it be a specific building or something that occurred on that corridor or an intersection, a story that occurred a long time ago," Bianchi said.
The money from the Downtown Improvement Advisory Board would allow the city to contract with local historian Tim McKee.
"Tim will write those postcards, those stories for each one of the static posts," Bianchi said. "There will also be four videos. We will be selective about where we put the videos, 12 videos would be too much.
"Imagine walking down the corridor. You see a static post with a placard on it, or a QR code. You learn about the history of Main Street, which is on the National Register of Historic Places with the U.S. Department of the Interior," he said.
DIAB member Matthew Stanfield asked Bianchi if the new countywide branding could be used on the posts.
Bianchi said, "We hadn't thought of that. We could potentially use some of the branding that's been developed as part of it."
Stanfield said, "I think that would help tie things together nicely."
The Main Street Corridor Improvement plan, from First Street to Sixth Street, will include updated LED street lighting, new curbs and ADA-compliant curb ramps, concrete sidewalks, brick pavers, delineated crosswalks and lighted plazas with seating.
Aging water and sewer infrastructure along Main Street would be also be replaced, according to Bianchi, who said Main Street will also be converted to two-way traffic during the process.
The city recently moved to acquire small sections of property that will be needed for the project, largely at intersections and street corners.
Actual work on the improvement project may begin in the spring of 2025, according to Bianchi, who said the construction could take up to two years to complete.
"The nature of the work will require intersections along the corridor to be fully closed at some point. For example, the intersection of Fourth and Main streets could be closed for up to 60 days to complete the work and we would then move onto the next one.
"This project will be done in series, rather than parallel," he said.
Chuck Hahn, Cleveland Financial Group, invests in this independent reporting through a Newsroom Partnership.
City editor. 30-year plus journalist. Husband. Father of 3 grown sons and also a proud grandpa. Prior military journalist in U.S. Navy, Ohio Air National Guard. -- Favorite quote: "Where were you when the page was blank?"