More updates come to downtown
By Randy Garrison
The City of Hartselle continues with efforts to improve and update the downtown area.
The entrance from both directions, east and west, is very important to visitors to our city and serves as a great welcoming area, as well as hub for local businesses. The downtown area has a strong foundation built and formed by merchants and families who gave Hartselle roots and set the wheels in motion for the vibrant city we all now call home.
One of the latest updates is the addition of an electric car station, also known as an EV Charging Point. This joint venture between Hartselle Utilities and the City of Hartselle serves as an economic development project to entice owners of electric vehicles to take Exit 328 and drive into downtown Hartselle to charge their vehicles. During the charging time, it is thought the visitors will take advantage of our restaurants, shops and other offerings from downtown businesses.
Another project that has been in the planning stages for a while now is a designated walking route from the downtown area to the Farmer’s Market. The preliminary plans have been drawn, and the City of Hartselle is seeking grant funds to begin the first phase of the walkway.
Phase One includes a painted walkway that will begin behind the new pocket park downtown. Improvements include adding more picnic tables under the oak tree and a lighted and protected pathway to Hickory Street. The City of Hartselle is also purchasing property that will be a part of the next phase of the project.
New green space with trees along the border of the property, as well as the walkway continuing south, are included in this phase. Plans for a stage for concerts and other performances are also included for this area.
At the Farmer’s Market, new parking and additional green space are planned for the final stage of the project. More trees and grassy areas will border the property, along with a pavilion for gatherings or overflow when needed for the market.
The walkway project will enable visitors to the market to have a walkable path to trek downtown to shop and dine, and shoppers downtown will have easy access to the market.
The walking path, stage area and new greenspace landscaping will be a welcome improvement to this area of downtown and will increase the footprint of this important part of our city.
The City of Hartselle will be seeking grant funding to continue the sidewalk projects that have been completed in recent years. The funds sought will include proposed new sidewalks south of Hickory Street up to the Hartselle Church of Christ, along with proposed sidewalk improvements from Main Street north on Sparkman. On the west side of Sparkman, plans are in the works to rebuild the sidewalks north to Pine Street. On the east side of Sparkman, sidewalks will be constructed from Main Street north to College Street. Also, sidewalk replacements from Chestnut Street headed west to Sycamore are in this plan.
All proposed sidewalk construction plans are contingent on receiving funding, as well as the project being approved.
The City of Hartselle is seeking funds from the Alabama Department of Transportation for this project, estimated to be approximately $800,000 when completed. These funds are only available for sidewalks connecting to a state route and continuous from previous projects.
Downtown Hartselle is vibrant and growing, and the City of Hartselle is committed to continued improvements for this important area of our city.