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Streetscape, utilities projects completed

By Staff | Aug 7, 2009

Mayor Jim Auxer

Two major projects wound down last month and are now judged complete: Streetscape and the Underground Utilities projects.

The seeds of Streetscape beganwell, years ago; over time, the Streetscape Project emerged and was refined. After its design was approved and the contractor’s bid accepted, Streetscape broke ground September 22, 2008. Its recent completion came two weeks ahead of schedule and right on budget.

Sounds easy but as many of you know it was no day at the beach: it lurched off to slow start with the limestone ridge at German and Church streets. Engineer John Brady, who was overseeing Streetscape for the town, assured everyone the project would move faster after they moved away for that intersection, and that is what happened.

Then, with the sidewalks and street torn up in front of businesses, shop owners’ concerns about limiting prospective customers’ auto and foot traffic were valid but unavoidable. There is really no best time to disrupt the various traffic patterns; but according to all the information that has come in to me: no businesses were closed for a whole day as a result of the Streetscape Project.

With the completion of Streetscape comes the responsibility of maintaining the beautification; of concern into the fall are the plantings-they need a drink of water every day. Thanks for your help.

The Streetscape Committee-all volunteers-steered the project to fruition; they deserve a thank you: Hank Willard, Nancy Craun, Sandra Osbourn, Mark Smith, Peter Spaulding, Cindy Cook, Neal Martineau, and Lori Robertson.

Speaking of Hank Willard, he not only chaired the Streetscape Committee, but he worked on and exerted a deal of effort and time on the Underground Utilities Project-a special thanks to Hank.

Speaking of the Underground Utilities Project-it was completed on time and on budgetbecause there was no time frame and no budget. Technically, it was over kjbudget but that is attributed to the four years that elapsed between project approval and completion, and because of the number of small projects that came about as part of the whole project.

The Underground Utilities Project was not part of Streetscape, which received government funding. Burying the utilities at the German and King streets intersection was a Town undertaking-of which we contributed $187,000.

But the Town received a huge helping hand from Shepherd University, which contributed $100,000. Hank and I feel that the Town could not have found a better partner in the Underground Utilities Project. We thank them for their support.

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For those of you who are devotees of checking the Town website, you have already noticed the difference; for those who haven’t dropped by for several weeks-we have a renovated home.

Chris Hutzler created the new look and will be adding more information in the near future such as maps of the town showing historic district borders and how sections of the town are zoned.

One feature that is up and running is located on the home page under “Message Forums.” It links to “Community Discussions Forum,” which offers the opportunity for you to post “What’s On Your Mind,” “Community Events” and a “Buy-Sell-Trade” area for free non-commercial classifieds.

As always, meeting information is posted on the home page – and remember that all meetings are public meetings, so come on in. But if time does not allow a personal visit, the minutes of meetings are posted under the appropriate committee link. If the subject of government operations and politics are too volatile, the home page also has the “Current Weather.” The weather is a safe subject to talk about.