Latest Streetscape phase completed

Angie Brewer has mixed feelings about the outcome of the most recent Streetscape in Lancaster.

The beautification project, which includes new sidewalks and curbing, recently wrapped up its latest phase – stretching from the railroad tracks on Main Street southward to Hartley’s Appliances and Collins Reality. Intersections include Emmons Street and Brooklyn Avenue.

Williams Finance and Insurance is one of the businesses to have its sidewalks and entry points improved over the last few months. The work also includes new streetlights and greenery, which concerns Brewer.

Brewer, vice president of Williams Finance and Insurance, said she’s worried that the crepe myrtles planted in front of their building will grow large enough to eventually obstruct the view for motorists and make it hard for customers to access the business.

“I think it’s going to block drivers once they start blooming,” Brewer said.

However, Brewer said she and others at the business are pleased overall with the Streetscape project. The entry points to their driveways are more level and drivers are able to read the road better, she said.

“The sidewalks look really nice,” she said. “I really didn’t think it (Streetscape) would come this way.”

Work on this Streetscape phase began last spring. Project manager Brian Tripp said work was completed in December.

“I believe all of you will agree this project has certainly enhanced the south end of Main Street for our citizens, visitors and business owners,” city Administrator Helen Sowell said.

Grant update

The city had received a $454,680 federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) to pay for the improvements along South Main Street.

Sowell told City Council last month that there has been a change to the cost of the project – an increase of $31,401.

“This increase is a result of several revisions made to the original plan at the request of multiple property owners,” Sowell said.

Also, $6,750 has been added to the engineering cost.

However, the Department of Commerce has increased the city’s grant amount by $45,320, which would cover those added expenses.

“We will receive this money only if stimulus funds are available at the end of this grant cycle,” Sowell said. “If the city receives all of this additional money, the total grant award for the project will be $500,000.”

The city has provided a 10 percent match to the federal grant. That match comes from the city’s general fund.

By Jesef Williams, Staff Reporter with The Lancaster News