RUPERT — After six years of planning, Rupert is preparing to start the construction phase of the $2.7 million Rupert Square renovation.

Funding for the project will come from the general obligation bond, a community development block grant, city and in-kind contributions along with private donations.

The Rupert City Council unanimously approved moving forward to the construction phase of the project and approved the city’s application of a $500,000 Idaho Community Development Block Grant on Nov. 14 after a public hearing. Councilman Joel Heward was absent.

The grant awards will be announced by the first of April and funds awarded by June or July, Jeff McCurdy with the city of Rupert said.

A public open house to review the construction plans will be held on Dec. 14. The time and place will be announced at a later date.

Matthew Adams, with The Land Group, which designed the project, said the community demonstrated “the biggest show of support” by approving the city’s $3.96 million construction bond in May, which included some of the park projects.

“A five or six year journey became real,” Adams said.

The project will be put out to bid in March and construction will begin after the city’s Fourth of July celebration.

The work is expected to be completed in the spring of 2019.

The base park improvements will include the historic central plaza, gazebo stairs, sidewalk replacement and a memorial gate. Street improvements include an enhanced furnishing zone, restriping the parking that will allow a large single lane of traffic. Costs for the base improvements are $890,000.

“The base park improvements are those project that have to be done,” Adams said.

The large central fountain will be surrounded by brick and concrete and will feature a large cast iron bowl that is traditional and clean and complements the historic park, said Christopher Hawkins, who is also with The Land Group.

“We really want to bridge the gap,” Hawkins said. “We don’t want to recreate history but interpret it.”

Grant funded improvements include perimeter sidewalk replacement, pedestrian bulb-outs and sidewalk replacements for F, 6th and D streets at a cost of $971,600, which include city in-kind funds, McCurdy said.

“As the Square is used more and more the bulb-outs will act as a safety feature,” City Administrator Kelly Anthon said.

The grant money will help the taxpayers maximize the bond money, he said.

McCurdy said the city qualifies for the federal grant because it met the requirements for infrastructure like sidewalk and handicap accessible areas that are substandard.

Alternate bid improvements include historic central plaza pavers and plaques, civic plaza, gazebo refurbishment, a temporary shade structure, memorial gateway pavers and plaques, irrigation system replacement, perimeter tree planting and electrical upgrades along with pedestrian bulb-out pavers, enhanced furnishing zone pavers, light pole hanging baskets and irrigation and signs for $845,000.

Hawkins said the alternate bid improvements will only be done if bids come in good enough to allow the funds or through city in-kind or private funding.