“The project is on schedule,” Lincoln Mayor Lew Watson said.
Watson said the downtown revitalization project has been in the works for several years. In 2007, Lincoln was awarded a $150,000 transportation enhancement fund grant. The Federal share is 80 percent, with a 20 percent city match. The project was awarded in August 2009 with construction scheduled to start soon following.
“Construction work began around November,” he said. “We are hoping the project is completed by the end of January, weather permitting.”
Jane Reed Ross, landscape architect and project manager for Goodwyn, Mills and Cawood, Inc., said the project would cover approximately one city block in old downtown Lincoln.
“The streetscape improvements and park development occur on McClain Avenue and James Avenue between Magnolia and McCarthy streets,” she said. “The work includes sidewalk renovation, pedestrian street lights, shade trees islands in the parking areas, paving of streets, and landscaping.”
Ross said the property between the two avenues will have the grades smoothed to gentle slopes, grassed and tree plantings for the creation of a half-acre town green or park.
“A brick crosswalk will lead from the buildings on McClain Avenue to a central set of steps that connect to the green,” she said.
Ross said the resurfacing of the roads portion of the project was not grant eligible, and the city is paying for that portion of the project. The contractor has 90 days to complete the project from the construction start date.
“This will make our downtown more attractive and appealing, both for our residents and for prospective businesses,” Watson said.
Watson said there are already five businesses located in that area.
“We are hoping to draw more businesses into our downtown,” he said. “There is room for several more businesses in the downtown area.”
Watson said he has received much feedback about the Lincoln Downtown Streetscape Project.
“I have received lots of positive comments about improving the appearance of that area so much,” he said. “It is very attractive. The contractors, Clark Associations, of Attalla, AL, have done a great job.”
Watson said he is pleased with the progress so far, and is looking forward to seeing the project completed.
“Mayor Watson is working on plans for the James Avenue sidewalk to eventually cross the creek to Blue Eye Creek Fishing Trail that will feature fishing stations along the water’s edge, a terraced seating area and pavilion,” Ross said. “The projects will improve the quality of life for these spaces functionally, aesthetically, preserve the historical heritage of the area, as well as add additional green parks.”
Watson said although the fishing station is not part of the grant, it will enhance the downtown area.
“We are hoping to work on the fishing station in 2010,” he said. “It will complement the downtown area and provide additional recreation for area residents.”