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May 22--MOUNT VERNON -- Main Street between Myrtle and Gates streets is closed to traffic while Strider Construction crews pave the way for the city's newest riverfront feature.
The street won't reopen when they're finished in September either, Mount Vernon Assistant Public Works Director Mike Love said.
Instead, downtown Mount Ve r n o n w i l l b o a s t a n e w 30,000-square-foot plaza that can be used as a public gathering spot or even an event center when the work is complete.
Mayor Jill Boudreau said she is looking forward to the completion of the plaza and has heard some excitement from the community as well.
"We anticipate this to be a draw for people to come downtown, but it's also a non-motorized trail," Boudreau said.
Along the downtown corridor of the city's floodwall project, a 24-foot wide pathway will provide pedestrian, running and bicycle access to the heart of the city and the scenic Skagit River.
As construction crews lay the foundation, that vision is becoming a reality.
Crews are starting to place decorative brick on this stretch of the city's larger floodwall project this week.
The estimated $28.1 million project as a whole is intended to remove the city from the 100-year floodplain on federal maps and with it, the requirement to buy flood insurance. The city's plan is to attract businesses to downtown.
The first phase of the project, from the West Mount Vernon Bridge north to Lions Park, was completed in 2010.
The second phase includes current construction of the plaza and walkway from Division Street to Kincaid Street, Love said.
The county needs to secure another $3.6 million to meet the cost of the third phase, which will add another 1.4 miles of floodwall and levee and just under a mile of trail.
Reporter Kimberly Cauvel: 360-416-2199, kcauvel@skagitpublish ing.com, Twitter: @Kimberly_SVH, facebook.com/bykimberlycauvel
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