The long-awaited renovation of sidewalks on Main Street has officially begun.
This rendering shows how Main Street will look following sidewalk renovations, including new flower beds that will stick out slightly into the street.
Workers began tearing up the existing sidewalks last week thanks to a $500,000 transportation grant obtained by the city more than two years ago but has been plagued with delays in getting the project started.
The grant, which includes some matching funds from the city, will replace sidewalks from Woodford Street to Court Street, along with updates to the storm water system. It will also include a series of what are called bump outs, spots along the street that will include flowers beds that stick out slightly into the street.
Mayor Troy Young said the project will take several months to complete, depending on weather and other factors.
“We’ve been trying to work with our downtown merchants so as not to interrupt them,” he said. “This is a good time to schedule it because a lot of the businesses are not able to operate with foot traffic.”
As work on the project began last week, questions surfaced on social media about workers uprooting trees on Main Street. Young said the trees had to go.
“The trees had served their longevity and were causing the sidewalks to buckle,” Young said. “And, they were diseased, so they had to come down, one way or the other.”
Young said the city will hold off placing flower baskets on the street lamp poles until after the project is completed.
“We have to raise those lamp posts, so we can’t put the baskets out at this time,” he said. “There will be new planters built into the sidewalks, and America in Bloom is involved with that. We’ll also be able to put the baskets back out there once it’s done.”
Bidding issues have plagued the project since its inception. The city let bids for it more than a year ago, but was unable to find any bidders.
“The first bid, we had contractors come out and look at it and they considered a small job,” said Young.
“The second bid we had two bidders, but neither was qualified.
“The third time was a charm. We went out recruiting for bidders.”
The winning bid, Young said, went to local firm Smith Contractors, who submitted the winning bid of slightly more than $400,000.
“They were the lowest, which is good, but it’s also good to have a local contractor doing the work,” Young said.
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