Public gets closer look at Downtown plan


Those attending a special city meeting Thursday night to explain the first phase of the Main Street improvement project, were reminded, “Great things come out of patience.”

Smiling at those words, projected on a screen in the City Council Chamber, Amanda Pollack, Deputy Director of Public Works, told the audience Phase II — the first of three to be completed — will be handled carefully, with respect to residents and businesses.

Work will be done block by block, allowing residents to have access to their properties, but there will be construction, noise, dust and utility work during the one-year undertaking, set to commence Oct. 3.

The entire venture will last three years, but streets should be completed in two years, leaving only the pedestrian plaza outside of the Government Office Building to finish.

Awarded the bid for construction was KCI Technologies, whose representative, Debbie Pfeil, also speaking at the meeting, thanked attendees at  Thursday afternoon’s groundbreaking ceremony for Phase II. Mayor Jake Day was there, but unable to be at the informational meeting tonight.

Pfeil said KCI will provide a link to the project with a live Google map.

“We will be doing these updates several times during the day, the week, the month … we’ve also dedicated a phone line. It is dedicated just for this project, for the duration of this project,” she said.


Call 410-316-7819.

Concerns will be logged and shared with Pollack, Pfeil said.

“We really want to focus on as many minimal disruptions as possible rather than to go out there and talk and talk and talk to our inspectors. We look forward to working on the project, and the outreach as well,” she said.

Phase II will be from Route 13 to the east side of Division Street.

Design began in 2014. Improvements will include more brick elements along the street. Although four parking spaces will be lost at first, 25 will be added during Phase I. Phase I will concentrate on Division and Main streets.

Meters will be replaced with nine parking pay stations.

“There will be a style of street furnishings that will match our new street lights,” Pollack said, plus 11 trash cans, 11 recycling containers, 10 bike racks, 29 benches and 59 street lights, all with the same design.

Sidewalk paths will be straight for pedestrians, meaning outdoor dining tables in front of restaurants will be moved forward.

The city received a Green Streets grant to help fund the bio-retention areas. Stormwater that falls on Main Street will be treated prior to being discharged into the river, Pollack explained.

All existing trees will be removed, a total of 12, but 44 new, native trees, appropriate for an urban setting, will be planted.

“When you look at the trees now, in a lot of places the sidewalk is heaving up around them … they are really too big for an urban setting,” Pollack said.

“Keep in mind, we will be working block by block, but when we leave a block, it won’t be finished. It may be they kind of go block by block and do other things, then go back and do paving,” Pollack said.

“We’re respectful of the fact we are in a business district and there are residents here. We will be careful about that, but I want to be honest with you. We will be under construction,” Pollack said.

A man in the audience asked about flooding on Baptist Street and Pollack said storm drains will be replaced and some sizes changed. Less storm water will go into the system, especially since the water will be used to water trees.

Another asked about overhead utilities and Pollack said they will remain overhead, and not be situated underground.

A man who lives downtown said he’s concerned about, “noise, cars, all the drunks out late at night.”

Pollack said she will check with Police Chief Barbara Duncan, to see if additional officers will be placed in that area.

“When it’s all finished, it’s going to look very nice,” Pollack said, adding that, during construction, the Downtown Trolley will accommodate the city by using an alternate route.

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