Council bids award to improve downtown sidewalks

Published 3:00 am Thursday, April 27, 2017

The Troy City Council’s awarding of a bid Tuesday to replace sidewalks downtown is one of the biggest achievements to date to come out of the Downtown Plan.

Although the project was crafted when the Downtown Plan was still in its early stages, the repairs will still play a significant role in the beautification and accessibility portions of the plan.

“The city is hoping that this is just one of many projects to come in the implementation of the Downtown Plan and one of many projects which will aid in the attractiveness of Troy – which will also promote a safer environment and healthier lifestyle for our residents,” said Melissa Sanders, planning administrator for the City of Troy.

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The project was the city’s selected project for a federal 2014 TAP grant (Transportation Alternatives Program). The grant is an 80-20 match with a max limit of $400,000 paid by the Alabama Department of Transportation. Because this project topped half a million dollars at nearly $555,000, the city will be responsible for the remaining $155,000.

The project is located in the downtown commercial district on five roads directly surrounding the Square including portions of South Three Notch Street, Church Street, Love Street, Oak Street, and West Walnut Street.

The official purpose of the project is to make the sidewalks ADA compliant for those in wheelchairs or suffering from other disabilities.

“The replacement of the existing concrete sidewalks with new concrete sidewalks will significantly improve the existing transportation system inside the downtown commercial district,” Sanders said.

Although making the sidewalks ADA compliant and better to walk on is the primary purpose of the project, the renovation also allows for aesthetic improvements downtown.

“Additionally, landscaping will be incorporated into the new sidewalks where adequate space is available,” Sanders said. “Landscaping will be installed in these green areas to provide both shade and beauty to future pedestrians traveling through the downtown area. The implementation of new concrete sidewalks and landscaping in the project area will greatly enhance the overall beautification effort of downtown Troy

“The project also includes decorative lighting to enhance the appearance, safety, and the extension of downtown from the square.  These improvements will match previous improvements constructed in the downtown square area to change the perception of downtown to include the areas adjacent to the downtown square.”

Sanders said the new look is hoped to tie in other areas of the district to the Square and bring in even more business downtown.

“The fresh look will promote growth and beautification of the historic downtown district,” Sanders said. “Hopefully this will give store owners a significant reason to move forward with improvements to the store fronts, drawing more customers to the area. The crisp appearance will invite visitors to view the downtown area and stop by shops and businesses.

“This project will help create a safer and more walkable downtown district and, therefore, will help engender a healthier community.”

There are also two other TAP grants awaiting for the city. The 2015 TAP grant will go to place multi-use paths on one side of Trojan Parkway and John H. Witherington Drive, the new names for the two Enzor Road connectors.

The 2016 TAP grant will go towards funding a mutli-modal path for bikes and pedestrians on a route from Troy University to Downtown.

The 2017 TAP grant project, which has not yet been approved, would improve more downtown sidewalks including the intersection of Love Street and Three Notch Street and portions of Church Street, Three Notch and Market Street.