Out with the old utility poles

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By Robin Bass

The Main Street renovation project was given a glowing green light by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet after being awarded $360,000 in enhancement funds last Thursday.

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.

“This is good news,” said Main Street Committee Chairman John Shircliffe. “We were scared we were going to get passed over this year.”

So far, 39 communities have been awarded transportation enhancement grants this year, totaling $18 million, according to Robin Jenkins, spokesperson for KyTC.

“The Taylorsville streetscape project will improve access to businesses and services for residents and visitors alike,” said Governor Steve Beshear, who in a press release, described the renovation as something that would “enhance the quality of life” for local citizens.

One of those enhancements could be the ease of angled parking as depicted in Shircliffe’s renderings from a phase II public meeting held earlier this year. In the drawings, he demonstrated that by creating a slightly different parking pattern, visitors to downtown shops would have a better chance of finding front-door spots.

Other than the parking changes, Shircliffe said that phase II would be “a duplication of phase I” – a replication of the first block’s aesthetic appeal with more iron work features and cobble-stone stamped concrete.

Along with the grant, comes a 20 percent local match totaling $90,000. Taylorsville City Commissioners and Spencer County Fiscal Court each have agreed to split the cost, which could be paid for partly by in-kind services.

Of the entire $450,000 devoted to renovating one block of Main Street, nearly half will go toward removing unsightly utility poles and relocating service connections along the alleys.

“But it will open up the whole view of the square and the courthouse,” said Shircliffe.

Mayor Don Pay said that in addition to the diligence of Shircliffe and fellow Main Street Committee members, he was proud of the hard work others exhibited on the project, including Main Street Manager Annette King, members of Spencer County Economic Development, numerous community volunteers and the cooperation of city and county leaders.

“This cooperative partnership will enhance the City of Taylorsville for our residents and visitors to our community for generations to come,” said Pay.

Shircliffe said he plans to recommend City Commissioners move forward by contracting  with a utility company so that construction could begin next spring.

Transportation Enhancement programs, which are administered by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, offer federal funding for creative approaches that integrate environmentally friendly transportation solutions into communities.