They're called street-scape enhancements. Basically it's a beautification project that's designed to draw more people downtown. And if all goes well, 12 city blocks in downtown Odessa will look completely different within the next couple of years.
"This is a beginning of what we hope to be a lot of future improvements to the downtown area," Nancy Wells, Executive Director of Main Street Odessa, said.
And those improvements will take place right along 5th Street...from Golder Avenue all the way to Adams Avenue. So what changes can we expect to see first?
"Sidewalks, intersections, there will be bump-outs, lots of trees and lighting, pavers, things like that. It's infrastructure but what we're actually doing is making it easier for people to get around in the downtown area," Wells said.
It's not cheap. The project has a price tag of $1.7 million, but the city only has to dish out 20% of the funds with TXDOT taking care of the rest. And if it does what Main Street Odessa hopes...it will be worth every dime.
"Ultimately we are hoping that it will be a spark that will help to generate a lot of new economic redevelopment in the downtown area," Wells said.
The downtown area has already become a central business district. The project will connect Medical Center Hospital with the east campus of ORMC. And right in the middle...a major transportation hub.
"The main bus terminal is at 5th and Lincoln. We are connecting to a lot of government buildings, to banks, libraries, things like that," Wells said.
The groundbreaking for all of this could begin as early as next fall, and the entire project is expected to take at least 12 months. Wells said it will probably be a block-by-block process, so you'll be able to watch the improvements slowly progress down the street.