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Clinton Streetscape Establishes Placemaking Environment

Like many seasoned communities, the City of Clinton has wrestled with aging infrastructure issues and outdated transportation amenities that no longer meet the requirements of the modern era. The city recently partnered with the Snyder & Associates team to implement creative placemaking techniques that remedy a glaring issue in their historic downtown.

During public engagement sessions, it was determined that the project should provide a design connection to the Mississippi and instill a sense of history. Significant planning with city leaders, local business owners, a steering committee, and other stakeholders helped ensure that vision was fully understood and brought to life.

Extending through the oldest part of downtown Clinton and ending at the Mississippi River, our team developed a corridor plan that creates an inviting and pedestrian-friendly space along a three-block section of 5th Avenue South. This project focused on creating a streetscape that welcomed shoppers and recreational users alike with bike-centric amenities and easy pedestrian navigation among the shops and businesses along the corridor.

Central Challenges Become Project Strengths

Sculptures of local wildlife provide a strong tie to Clinton’s natural surroundings while establishing a streetscape theme.

Using strategic design and a judicious application of placemaking principles, our team took advantage of an approximately two-foot elevation change between the street and business levels by incorporating steps and ADA-compliant ramps that strengthen multimodal accessibility and provide separation from the roadway. Trees, accent planting beds, and comfortable seating areas were also carefully integrated to enhance the pedestrian experience and create a sense of place.

Along the project corridor, mid-block pedestrian crossing areas anchored by four large, brick columns were included. The use of these large, vertical elements helps calm traffic and separate pedestrian zones for improved safety. They also matched the mix of concrete and brick sidewalks, decorative street lighting, and safety rails that provide the finishing touch to this streetscape revitalization.

Working with a commissioned artist, decorative corner water fountains, native wildlife sculptures, and interpretive plaques were installed to provide a unique aesthetic appeal inspired by local history and the natural environment. These features also create conversational elements and function as landmarks for wayfinding.

Aesthetic Upgrades with Functional Purpose

Similar to the Winterset Streetscape project, a significant number of underground vaults were filled in and reinforced to strengthen the structural integrity of the sidewalk. These vaults once provided access for business deliveries. To minimize construction-related impacts on local businesses, the entire streetscape project was completed in two separate phases. This small-scale project has created a big impact on the Clinton community by transforming this once-stagnant corridor into a true destination location.