Gainesville is about to embark on a $1.5 million project to not only improve aging sewer in an area near the historic Gainesville Mill, but put the area in better position for growth.
Rainy weather has held up work this week, but crews could soon begin on the project along Marler Street between Hancock Avenue and Dean Street.
That section of road will be closed to motorists until Nov. 13 as work gets underway, city officials said.
The work, expected to wrap in May, involves replacing old clay pipes with stronger, more durable ones made of ductile iron and polyvinyl chloride, or PVC, in an area involving Marler, Hancock Avenue and Moreno and Bradford streets.
“These are needed improvements … before anything major happens,” such as manhole overflows, project manager Marcial Mosqueda said. “But it is also for future development.”
The area, generally between Cargill at U.S. 129/E.E. Butler Parkway and Ga. 60/Queen City Parkway, is largely industrial but also is bordered by homes, particularly in streets jutting off West Ridge Road.
The old Gainesville Mill Village is in the area, a neighborhood linked to the old mill off Georgia Avenue. Families worked at the century-old mill and lived in the village for generations.
Also, CSX and Norfolk Southern railroad lines run through the area.
The city’s project is designed to head off further deterioration of the clay pipe, as well as “water leaking into our sewer,” Mosqueda said.
Gainesville is investing another $1 million in environmental improvements to the area — restoration of a portion of Flat Creek.
The work calls for rechanneling Flat Creek and removing old concrete streambed. Officials hope the work will not only improve the area’s appearance but provide better flood control and improve water quality.
In addition, crews are turning an old fire pond that once served the Gainesville Mill off Marler and Georgia Avenue into a pedestrian-friendly amenity featuring sidewalks and benches.
“And then, when we get the greenway through there, (the area’s) going to be really nice,” Gainesville Mayor Danny Dunagan said.
Gainesville’s Midtown Greenway runs from just south of Ga. 369/Jesse Jewell Parkway to Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard between Grove and Pine streets.
Eventually, it could extend east to E.E. Butler and south to Lee Gilmer Memorial Airport and the Central Hall Multi-Use Trail heading toward Oakwood.