Merchants look forward to sidewalk project

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 23, 2000

Staff Writer

In a little over a week, downtown Troy will be undergoing a renovation.

A $370,696 project funded through grant money from the Alabama Department of Transportation will include new sidewalks. Work along Market, Elm, Oak, Walnut and a portion of Three Notch Streets will begin Sept. 4, according to those involved with the project.

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The project will involve the "tearing out" of old sidewalks, curbing, utility work and drainage improvements.

Mattie McGrady, owner of Mattie’s Fashion Boutique, is pleased the work is being done.

It’s something she and other merchants have wanted a long time, she said.

During the last Troy City Council meeting, McGrady was informed the project would begin just after Labor Day.

"In 1995, the mayor told us Market Street would be revitalized," McGrady said.

Now, her wishes will become a reality.

Bob Carter of Bob Carter and Associates said there will be some disruption for merchants, but they should be pleased once the project is complete.

For Carter, "it’s critical every business and customer have access at all times," so sales will not be interrupted over the next few months.

Dale Fritz of Dale Fritz and Associates said he especially wants to minimize impact to business around the holidays which will fall within the 180-day contract period.

He said those who will be on the construction site will "try to expedite replacement of sidewalks as quickly as possible."

Blake Masingill of Cardwell Corporation said his crew will begin work at the storefronts so holiday business isn’t interrupted. over the next six months.

Plans are to work on a block-by-block basis and while working on those areas in front of businesses, pedestrians will have temporary ramps with nonskid surfaces so access to the businesses will be easier.

However, there will be no way to get around the loss of parking during the construction.

"Once we get to a particular area, we’ll work as quickly as possible to get out of that area," Fritz said.

Traffic will also come to a halt because the streets on which work is being done will have to be blocked off to vehicle traffic.

As far as the utilities are concerned, James Flowers, general manager for utilities, said he will work with the contractor.

Some of the utility work will involve replacing 1-inch water lines with 2-inch line along Market Street.

Although his business will not be directly impacted by the construction, Tim Oliver, owner of Oliver’s Shoes, said the renovation project will benefit the square once it’s complete.

With the renovation project, city officials hope to, not only improve the aesthetics and utilities, but to connect the Municipal Complex with the square.

Another aspect of the project will be the removal of the traffic lights at Market and Elm Streets, converting that intersection into a four-way stop to improve the movement of traffic in the downtown area.