City provides update on Streetscape project
Published 10:35 am Tuesday, February 7, 2023
BY LANCE GAITHER
With spring approaching, City Engineer Josh Morgan has issued an update on the work schedule for the Streetscape Project.
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Crews will be working through March to install curbs and paver bases throughout downtown. Trees are expected to be planted the first week of April. Afterward, crews will begin constructing intersections and installing pavers. Installation of lighting and site furnishings is expected to occur in May. The final step of the project is repaving the roads downtown which is expected begin the final week of May.
“Parking is most impacted in the current phase. We can expect to see less equipment after the curbs are installed,” said community liaison Melanie Crossfield. “Please keep in mind that this work plan is fluid, things can always move faster or slower than we expect based on a variety of factors, including materials availability and weather. The construction crews have done a great job of working when and where they are able to ensure little downtime as they work to complete this project as efficiently as possible.”
Reactions have been mixed from businesses regarding the progress of project and the city’s communication throughout.
“The whole thing has ruined my lunches,” said Bluegrass Pizza and Pub owner Melissa Culton. “I was the first one on the block, and it was supposed to be finished in a month. Since it started they have just nailed me. They have blocked parking, put equipment out there, and there has been no communication. I don’t see anyone affected as much as I have been. My customers say it’s hard to get over here especially when they are on their lunch hour. It is just not easy to get over here. I’ve complained multiple times and it just feels like I’m not being heard. The whole thing about downtown is lack of parking. It is supposed to be more walking friendly. But if you don’t have somewhere to park how are they going to get here to walk around? I’m not happy with it; my customers aren’t happy with it; if I was a new business I would be hurting.”
Carol’s Bridal and Gift Boutique has seen a large decrease in foot traffic, but owners Carol and David Senn are hopeful that the final result of the project will be beneficial.
“It absolutely affected our holiday business,” said David Senn. “We received some of the grant money from city hall and it made a big difference. Walk-in traffic was almost non-existent. The grant was a big shot in the arm. The city has been doing the best that they can for communication. My wife has been very involved and speaking to City Engineer Josh Morgan. I see the project shaping up now and it certainly modernizes the appearance downtown. I recognize that it’s necessary every 30 years. I was here back when they cut down the honey locust trees back in the 70s. The sidewalks had a lot of issues, I have personally seen people fall. It was necessary and I believe it was good stewardship by the city.”
City officials said last spring that duration of the project was dependent on factors such as weather.