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Downtown upgrades move forward

Randy Garrison 

I mentioned, a few months back, that several updates would be taking place in the downtown area. Well, we have not forgotten these updates; as with any projectthe planning stages usually take longer than the actual construction.  

I have learned that patience is a virtue I need to have more of, especially in dealing with municipal projects. 

When dealing with city funds or grant funds, everything must be in order with all i’s dotted and t’s crossed. Now, this is a good idea regardless of any project one is beginning, but it’s even more important in a government project. It is much easier to move at a slower pace and be assured all is in order than to have to redo something halfway through a project. 

As you might remember, the idea to provide a greenspace walkway from the downtown area to the Farmers Market has been in the planning stages since the new market was completed and opened. All parts of this project have one central goal: to help to increase traffic into the downtown area, where folks will shop with our local merchants. Providing more recreation is an important element as well. 

Opening the Downtown Park could be considered the beginning of the downtown portion of the project. This park was developed on a piece of property that could not be used for building without lots of changes. The Park fits on this piece of property perfectly and is used quite often, if not daily, by folks in Hartselle.  

It is always great to drive by and see folks enjoying lunch under the umbrellas and children playing on the equipment. 

The next phase will include a painted, lighted green space pathway from the Downtown Park headed south to Hickory Street. The path will include planters, as well as benches for folks to sit and take a break if they so desire. Cafétype lights will hang over the pathway to provide light for after-hours strolling.  

The pathway has already been marked off, and the next step includes repairing the sidewalks and steps behind the park and repairing the asphalt in the parking lot where the pathway will be installed.  

The repairs should be taking place in just a few weeks, and we will soon be ordering the benches, planters and light poles for the café lights.  

The pathway will be painted to highlight the walkway and will be a great addition to this area.  

Also15 additional parking spaces have been marked off for those needing to park and visit downtown shops. 

Once this is completed, the second phase – from Hickory Street south to the Farmers Market – will begin. Thanks to a grant made possible through Rep. Scott Stadthagenwork for a planned stage in this area will begin as well.  

Also, a walkway will continue through this area, as well as seating for the stage area. 

In other updates, you might have noticed surveyors have been working in the area for the past few weeks. This is in preparation for the upgraded sidewalks that will be added from Hickory Street south on Sparkman Street, as well Sparkman Street north of Main, to Pine Street.  

Sidewalk work will also be done on Chestnut up to and south on Corsbie.  

Another idea that is in the planning stages would include adding hanging baskets of plants on the streetlamp posts in the downtown area. The lamp posts already have openings for dowel rods that can be placed to hang the baskets.  

One issue that needs to be worked out prior to adding this project will be maintaining and watering the baskets. While these would be a great feature to add to the area, watering more than 60 baskets will be a job in itself. But as in all things, where there is a will, there is a way. 

Stay tuned, and I will do my best to keep you updated as the updates take place.  

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