Main Street: Second phase right around the corner

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By Robin Bass

The second phase of the Main Street renovation project was shifted into drive after Taylorsville City Commissioners approved a design concept last Tuesday night.

Presenting the design was Main Street Committee Chairman John Shircliffe, who provided commissioners with a glimpse of what the area could look like using several computer-generated drawings. Shircliffe said plans now are to contact private property owners and businesses along the affected area to make sure they are still in agreement with the parking configuration between Main Cross and Jefferson Street.

Another aspect of the project that was discussed, but not officially approved, was closing the small parking lot in front of the Chamber of Commerce building to vehicle traffic. Shircliffe told commissioners that a total of five parking spaces would be lost in that immediate area if plans for the plaza are approved, but that other parking spaces would be added back with the angled parking design.

“I like the plaza concept,” said Mayor Don Pay of the design.

Some commissioners were not so sure. Commissioner Lynda Huckleberry expressed concern over losing the parking lot frequented during district or circuit court. Other apprehensions were the additional cost of creating a plaza and keeping the area clean of cigarette butts and additional litter on court days.

Shircliffe said that Main Street Committee members envision the plaza area mimicking the stamped concrete seen in the first phase. Their hopes were that the space could be transformed from a poorly designed parking lot to a meeting place that would add visual impact, as well as, versatility.

“(The plaza would require) a lot of concrete, and concrete is very expensive,” said Shircliffe, but his hopes were that it could be paid for if fundraising efforts are successful.

The city-approved renovation design calls for 18 angled parking spaces along Taylorsville’s main artery that will allow customers to hop quickly from their cars and shop. According to the drawings, angled parking will be located in four distinct areas – in front of The Tea Cup, T&R Antiques, the Sanctuary Arts Center and the grassy lot formally used by the Farmers Market.

Following an upcoming public forum, Shircliffe said the plans will be sent to Frankfort for final state approval.

“Once we get this approval, it should go off easily,” said Shircliffe.

When the governor’s office announced grant funding for the project last October, Shircliffe had said he hoped construction could begin this spring. But with state approval still unsecured, he now estimates work will begin sometime this summer with the potential of completion by the end of the year.

The second phase of the Main Street project has been estimated to cost $450,000 to renovate one city block between Main Cross and Jefferson Street. Of that amount, nearly half will go toward removing unsightly utility poles and relocating service connections along the alleys. 

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet has earmarked $360,000 in enhancement grant funding for the renovation. The remaining $90,000 – a 20 percent local match – has been agreed to be split between Taylorsville City Commissioners and Spencer County Fiscal Court.

“Our goal is that the city and county pay nothing,” said Shircliffe, referring to the in-kind labor, materials and equipment that would be used to remove existing sidewalks.

In addition to the $2,500 remaining from phase I, the Main Street Committee plans to sell sponsorships of benches, planters and streetlights. Shircliffe said such a fundraising project would collect $22,000. Add in approximately $10,000 in volunteer labor and donated materials, and the local match could drop to around $50,000.

Thirty-nine communities were awarded transportation enhancement grants in 2008 that equaled $18 million.

The second phase of the downtown improvements will consist of relocating utility poles to the rear of residences and businesses along Main Street from Main Cross to Jefferson Street. It will also include replacing old, uneven sidewalks, and the addition of new street lights, benches, planters and landscaping – identical to those in phase I.

Other Taylorsville City Commission actions:

• Approved the application for a $500,000 Rural Development waste water grant to be used for the construction of an expanded treatment plant. The entire expansion is estimated to cost $2.6 million.

• Approved Dudley Dale’s attorney fees for services rendered to the City of Taylorsville. Commissions set Dale’s hourly fee at $85/hour and a monthly retainer of $500. There is also a $100/hour fee for investigation into special claims or legal action against the city. Previously, Dale had two separate hourly rates depending on whether he was providing service to city government or the water department. This motion made both rates the same.

• Approved the purchase of a carport for $2,500 that would be enclosed on three sides. The purpose of the carport is to store PVC and straw.

• Michael Woodford, of 102 Crume Court, appealed to the city to take over the road maintenance responsibilities of Crume Court.

“I pay city taxes and I’m trying to sell my house,” said Woodford. “This has been an ongoing issue over a road deeded for public use in 1978.”

The original owner of the road was Martha Crume. After her death, the road was deeded to the Martha Crume estate, but no family members have claimed ownership.

Commissioners passed a motion to accept Crume Court into the city road system contingent upon obtaining drainage easements and the availability of funds.

• The city incurred $23,000 in ice storm costs and is currently in the process of being reimbursed by FEMA.

• The city has submitted various projects to Frankfort requesting money from stimulus funds. Projects outlined and sent to the Kentucky Infrastructure Authority include expanding the water department’s waste water treatment plant and installing a sewer line on Townhill Road.

Requests sent to the governor’s office include funds to repair drainage issues on Washington Street, O’Dell and Crume courts, cleaning out various ditch lines and relocating utilities in the Main Street phase II project.