After years of relentless determination, Martin City is finally reaping the rewards of major improvements along 135th Street. City leaders joined Martin City business owners and supporters on February 16th to officially break ground on the final phase of the 135th Street Public Improvement project.

Roadway work for this phase includes new pavement and widening of 135th Street, new curbs, gutters, and improvements to the waterline and storm drainage systems. Crews will also construct a sidewalk on the south side of the road and an 8-foot wide multi-use trail on the north side.

“135th Street was pretty much narrow road with ditches. You couldn’t walk anywhere without walking on the street,” said Sixth District Councilman, Scott Taylor. He explains the impact of the project in this short video clip:

Phase 1 and 2 included the installation of a new stormwater line, the replacement of a water main line, new curbs, gutters, sidewalks, new street lights, a new street lane, new on-street parking spaces, new landscaping, an upgraded traffic signal at Holmes Road and 135th Street, a new traffic signal at Wornall road and 135th Street, and a new road surface.

The area between Holmes Road and Oak Street was very narrow so contractors had to retrofit the roadway in between existing restaurants. Maintaining access to businesses, particularly restaurants, was difficult. In most areas, the buildings come in after the roadway but in Martin City, the buildings were already there!

In addition, a train runs through Martin City several times a day so crews had to be conscious of the train schedule while installing roadway so cars wouldn’t back up and block business driveways. Debbie VanNoy, president of the Martin City Community Improvement District and owner of Jess and Jim’s Steakhouse said businesses and visitors have so far been patient with the mess but she’s happy to see the project coming to a close.

“With beautiful new street curbing, new sidewalks, new streetlights, parallel parking, and a walking trail soon to come, we have a lot to celebrate!” she said.

“When they built highway 150 around us, it was devastating to Martin City businesses because people could just go around us to go to Grandview,” she said. For almost nine years, Martin City leaders have been trying to encourage people to turn off highway 150 and drive down 135th Street.

“It’s great to finally see our efforts paying off,” said VanNoy. “People can walk up and down 135th Street to visit all the different businesses and we couldn’t do that before because there were so many ditches. A lot of people had doubts we could make this happen, but now, I see it happening,” said VanNoy.

This third and final phase is among the first GO KC projects approved by KCMO City Council in June 2017. The Martin City CID has funded over $600,000 for expenses, including design costs, right-of-way acquisition, and the installation of brick pavers, hanging basket poles, and other aesthetic enhancements.

“Targeted infrastructure improvements like this improve streets, sidewalks, and trails but also spur significant investments from the private sector and small businesses which help generate more tax revenue for basic City services for all neighborhoods,” said Sixth District Councilman, Scott Taylor.

The 135th Street project has been an ongoing team effort and we want to thank the City of KCMO, former Councilman John Sharp, 6th District Councilman Kevin McManus, 6th District Councilman Scott Taylor, the Martin City Community Improvement District Board, Jackson County Public Works Department, City Manager Troy Schulte, PIAC members, KCMO Public Works Department, KCMO Water Department, and all the businesses and community leaders who helped us move this project forward. Stay tuned for updates as phase three shows signs of progress!