Wednesday morning’s Rise and Revitalize, Re/New DeKalb meeting was held in the DeKalb City Council chambers. An anticipated large turnout of downtown business owners came to fruition due to the topic of upcoming construction on both Lincoln Hwy and Locust Streets.
The timing of the projects was the main topic of discussion. Work on the Pedestrian Passthru is expected to begin in the Spring. Work along Lincoln Hwy will include sidewalk replacement, benches, lighting and landscaping and is expected to take four months. Lincoln Hwy will not be closed during the construction. Most business owners appeared to favor waiting until June 2010 to tear up the downtown sidewalks along Lincoln Hwy citing the importance of the month of May (Mother’s Day and Graduations) for their businesses.
The Locust Street project was initially planned for 2011 but the City and Re/New DeKalb asked for input on moving that project up. Planned work on Locust Street includes burying of overhead utilities, roadway and sideway replacement and landscaping.
To a question related to the need for burying utilities on Locust St, Re:New DeKalb President Frank Roberts pointed to the architect’s drawings and wondered if the project would look right with the utility poles still in place. He also emphasized the need to get the project done before the ‘atmosphere changed’ and the money was not available.
The need to keep Second and Third Street intersections with Locust open during construction was also discussed. Access is needed for businesses along the first block North of Lincoln Hwy since those streets are both one-way.
The issue will be brought up at next Monday’s City Council meeting, where the group will ask for the funds to begin the engineering work for Locust St. If the Lincoln Hwy. project is completed in time, they would like to do preliminary work on Locust Street in the Fall of 2010. The plan would be to open Locust Street during the Winter and restart the project in the Spring of 2011. Work on Locust Street is expected to take a total of six months.
Not enough time was allowed for the meeting to discuss the Locust Street timing among the business owners so another meeting will be scheduled in the near future.
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