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Next steps OK’d for downtown upgrades

POSTED: February 5, 2009 12:15 a.m.

FLOWERY BRANCH — The Flowery Branch City Council voted Wednesday to contract with a Norcross firm to do preliminary engineering for the second phase of landscaping, new sidewalks and other improvements in the downtown area.

The project is expected to cost $250,000 and will be financed by a state Transportation Enhancement grant.

Pond & Co.’s work is expected to take about a year, said City Planner James Riker.

The work involves completing a sidewalk along Railroad Avenue from Snelling Avenue to the planned Old Town Flowery Branch development north of Main Street.

Also planned are completion of a sidewalk and parallel parking spaces along the west side of Church Street from Main Street to Pine Street and new landscaping, benches and pedestrian lighting.

The grant requires a 20 percent match from the city, or $50,000, which the city plans to spend on the engineering. The money is in the 2008-09 budget.

The city could end up spending another $175,000 on underground utilities, which can’t be covered by the grant.

“To get the project to look like the way we would like it to look, total overall dollars spent, we would have to come up with something like that (additional amount),” Riker said.

The city completed the first phase of the downtown project last February.

That work, which ended up costing about $488,000 including matching money, involved landscaping, widening sidewalks on the first block of Main Street off Railroad Avenue, installing new streetlights and benches with a historic flavor and adding parking spaces.

Landscaping probably wouldn’t be needed on portions of Railroad Avenue.

“They’ve got a lot of (tree) coverage down there,” Riker said. “We were looking at it yesterday. I would think those folks would be very satisfied with the improved area, (including) nice decorative street lighting.

“I think it could be a very unique entrance to the city, so we’re excited about it.”

In other business, council members decided to put off deciding how to correct traffic woes on the narrow, two-lane Jones Drive, which ties into the vast Tide Water Cove subdivision.

Riker discussed a couple of fixes to the road, which runs between Gainesville Street and the two-lane Mitchell Street.

One remedy would cost about $156,000, calling for improving all of Jones Drive.

The other option calls for improving the road from Mitchell Street to Lorimar Court, which features several duplexes. That work is estimated to cost $30,000.

Both amounts factor in engineering costs.

In another matter, the council gave its final OK to extending the time that alcoholic beverages can be sold to2 a.m. Monday through Saturday and midnight on Sunday.



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