The City of Altoona retained Ayres Associates to assist with master planning through final design for the River Prairie Northwest Quadrant development, including landscape architecture, site civil and roadway design, and traffic engineering. The initial project involved providing services all the way from consent-building through plan approval for the 80-acre town center property, which includes new streets, utilities, and public spaces that have attracted extensive commercial development.
After successfully bidding the three phases of the project, Ayres has provided construction services for all work completed to date. Services also included public participation, plans and specifications, bidding documents and assistance, construction staging, utility coordination, resident inspection, and construction staking.
Design development and Phase 1 construction focused on pedestrian-oriented sustainable design. Phase 1 included gateway signage, public space opportunities, and naturalized landscape finishes. Intersection and signal design were informed by the collection of turning movement counts. Traffic calming techniques facilitate the low speeds and multimodal traffic desired for this development. Work for Phase 1 was completed in 2014.
Ayres was retained to design Phase 2 of the development for 2015 construction of all streets and roundabouts, except for Main Street, whose design was brought to 75% in this phase. Lighting and utilities also will be installed, including phone, electric, fiber optics, gas, and Wi-Fi. Stormwater drainage facilities, ponds, and a water feature will be constructed, along with entrance features and irrigation. A boat launch, access road, pavilion, parking lots, landscaping, and temporary restrooms will be established along the Eau Claire River.
Phase 3 involves finishing the design for Main Street, four parking lots, and six public spaces. These features will be constructed as funding becomes available. The public areas include an artificial stream; multiple performance areas and wedding venues; a four seasons plaza, which includes play elements, casual fire features, and a splashpad; complementary pavilions nearby; a large multi-use Main Street plaza design for community events, farmers market, and a breakout area for the new event center being constructed nearby. Extensive landscape beds are throughout the development, especially in the public areas.