West Palm Beach Commissioners on April 6 approved plans to move up the start date on upgrades to the 400 and 500 blocks of Clematis Street. The third and final phase was scheduled to break ground in early to mid-May. Work will now begin April 7 on the 500 block.
Project leaders requested the earlier start date to reduce the impact to downtown merchants and residents, as well as visitors, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“As with any improvement project we undertake, we aim to create the least amount of disruption for residents, businesses, and visitors,” said West Palm Beach Mayor Keith A. James. “Given the current business climate due to COVID-19, moving up the start date just makes sense. We hope this efficiency will ultimately lead to better returns for our business community after COVID-19.”
Phase III design plans include upgrades to the 400 and 500 blocks of Clematis Street. Improvements include more shade trees, wider sidewalks and a curbless street design. Once the 500 block has been completed, the city will start work on the 400 block where City Hall is located. Phase III also includes safety improvements to the Quadrille Boulevard and Clematis Street intersection and minor improvements to the 600 block. Project managers expect this final stage of the project to be complete before the holidays.
“By moving up the timeline, we will be able to give merchants on the 400 and 500 blocks something that has already improved customer foot traffic and patronage along the other blocks of Clematis,” said Allison Justice, interim-executive director of the City of West Palm Beach Community Redevelopment Agency.
The Clematis Streetscape project was initiated in January 2018 with a series of public meetings to introduce the concept. The city broke ground on Phase I on the 300 block later that same year. Phase II, which focused on the 100 and 200 blocks, took place in 2019.
Pictured above: An artist’s rendering of the 500 block of Clematis Street after construction completes later this year.