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Construction may soon begin on a pedestrian plaza long-planned to enhance downtown Stillwater near the town's iconic Lift Bridge. 

The Stillwater City Council voted unanimously earlier this month to approve final designs and start the bidding process for the Chestnut Street Plaza, which is estimated to cost $2.8 million. 

Tim Gladhill, the city's community development director, said construction could begin in mid-July with the project reaching completion as soon as late fall.

The plaza will permanently convert the former state highway leading up to the Stillwater Lift Bridge, which closed to vehicle traffic in 2017. 

The Minnesota Department of Transportation has contributed $2,250,000 to project costs and state lawmakers are currently considering an additional $6 million bonding request for riverfront projects in Stillwater. 

Gladhill said they are hoping to minimize disruptions to downtown businesses and events while constructing the plaza, but some Main Street closures will be needed. 

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