Statesville OKs 2nd phase of streetscape project
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Tuesday, Nov. 05, 2013

Statesville OKs 2nd phase of streetscape project

By a 6-1 margin, the Statesville City Council has approved a $3.53 million funding package that will cover the second phase of the city’s downtown streetscape rehabilitation program.

The project encompasses a wide range of improvements on West Broad Street from Center to Mulberry streets, including the installation of new streets and sidewalks, curbs, crosswalks; new street furnishings include benches, tables and chairs, decorative lighting and plantings.

The majority of the funds, $3.2 million, will go to Bell Construction of Statesville, the lowest of four bidders, for general construction work.

In spring, when the project’s final design began, the original estimated price tag was considerably lower, approximately $2.3 million. However, several added elements have increased the final cost, according to City Manager Larry Pressley.

“The original plans for the second phase were to cover West Broad from Center to Meeting streets and also some Meeting Street improvements as well. However, the city was committed to preserving parking as we moved forward. After working out the parking details, the council approved final design of the block from Meeting to Mulberry, so essentially a whole block was added to the project.”

The city also acquired the property at 110 S. Meeting St., where a vacant building is being torn down and new parking spaces will be provided. $150,000 was included to construct that lot, as well as making improvements to another city lot on West Broad Street. Another $18,000 was added to the final tab to relocate utility lines in the area.

The retention of convenient downtown parking has been the most controversial aspect of the streetscape project, with some merchants and residents fearing that loss of angle parking on West Broad Street would drive shoppers away. Now, with the addition of the new parking lot on South Meeting Street, there will actually be a net gain of approximately 30 parking spaces in the West Broad Street vicinity, according to Pressley.

A timeline for the project is still a work in progress, according to city spokeswoman Nancy Davis. “A public meeting of property owners in the construction area will be held in mid-November and then the specific schedule for the work will be announced.”

Both Pressley and Davis indicated that construction will not be permitted to impact the city’s retail businesses during the upcoming holiday season.

Funding for the work will come from the city's general fund, and electric/water utility fund balance or “savings accounts,” and no increase in property tax rates is anticipated.

Dave Vieser is a freelance writer for Lake Norman News. Have a story idea for Dave? Email him at davidvieser@gmail.com.

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