EL PASO, Texas - There are big changes coming to Kern Place in west-central El Paso. The trolley construction is already underway, but that is just the beginning.
The Sun City Lights Project at Kern Place is in the final design stages. The city project is focused on turning the popular Cincinnati street near UTEP into a friendlier pedestrian area.
Matthew McElroy is the director of the International Bridges Department for the City of El Paso.
"Cincinnati street, Kern Place, Glory Road get tons of people. If there is a football game, concert, street festival, things like that," McElory said. "This project takes it from a very heavily automobile-focused area to one that is a lot friendlier to pedestrians and a lot friendlier for events."
For City Rep. Peter Svarzbein, safety is also a concern.
"There is also specific lighting around the corners of Stanton and Cincinnati as well as Mesa and Cincinnati, so that people feel more comfortable crossing it at night. There is a tremendous issue with the lack of lighting that is there," Svarzbein said.
The city of El Paso hosted an open-house style meeting to show off the progress it has made on design plans for the signature archway for this Sun City Lights project.
The project aims to define and highlight entrances to the city's iconic corridors and neighborhoods to create new economic development opportunities by combining public art, urban design and neighborhood revitalization strategies
The Kern Place improvements will include string lighting from Stanton to Oregon along Cincinnati Street, 17 foot sidewalks on both sides of the street, trees and added angled parking.
If the parking is metered, the city plans to have the money stay in the area to continue paying for landscaping and upkeep.
Two large archway gates will be placed along Cincinnati at Stanton and Mesa.
"The clear reference to the gate is the old Kern Place Gate that Peter Kern had developed back in 1916 when Kern Place first started as a subdivision," Svarbein said.
Construction on the project is expected to begin in March and be completed by the end of the year.