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Streetscape project peek reveals shuffling of Locust Street schedule

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Property owner Regina Barcus questions City Engineer Garth Hughes about a portion of the streetscape design along Washington Street during an open house Thursday evening at Greencastle's City Hall. The project will be done in two phases over 2013 and 2014.
The public got its first real peek at the streetscape portion of the City of Greencastle's Stellar Project during an open house Thursday evening at City Hall.

Even as the preliminary architect's drawings were being displayed on easels by Project Engineer Cassie Reiter and Katie Ulrich of Crawford, Murphy & Tilly Inc. (CMT), Indianapolis, change was in the air.

Locust Street, from Seminary to Washington, has been pushed back from the 2013 schedule to the 2014 portion of the program, Mayor Sue Murray told a number of interested local citizens.

"Things change as we get nearer to reality," she said.

That means the 2013 phase of the streetscape work will now include:

-- Indiana Street (from Seminary to Washington streets). Project will involve full reconstruction with all new pavement, sidewalks, drainage improvements, lighting, trees and green space.

-- Washington Street (Vine to Bloomington streets). Project will include improvements essentially from the curb back. While there will be no new pavement, there will be new sidewalks, lighting and green space.

-- The alley between Indiana and Vine streets, just north of the Vine Street parking lot. Work will include pavement and drainage improvements.

The revised 2014 segment of the schedule will now include:

-- Locust Street (from Seminary to Washington). Work will involve pavement reconstruction, sidewalks, lighting, trees and green space.

-- Vine Street (from Seminary to Washington). Project will include pavement reconstruction, sidewalks, lighting, trees and green space.

Locust Street property owner Dan Siebrase questions engineer Katie Ulrich of Crawford, Murphy & Tilly consulting engineers, Indianapolis, about a portion of the streetscape project in his neighborhood. Locust Street is on the schedule during the 2014 phase of the project.
"That's the schedule as it is now," CMT's Reiter said. "It's all subject to change."

She said the 2013 portion of the work likely will be offered for bid letting in April by the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT). Ideally, she said, that means the first sign of dirt being turned will be next June.

"We expect it to be done in one construction season," Reiter added.

CMT, incidentally, is the firm responsible for the much-praised Super Bowl village design work along Georgia Street in Indianapolis.

Mayor Murray and City Engineer Garth Hughes offered some insight on the scheduling shuffle involving Locust Street.

The original plat of the City of Greencastle, Murray said, ended at Locust Street. The development to the east of there was platted later as the Eastern Enlargement. The resulting property lines have apparently never jibed.

That is relevant in 2012, Hughes explained, because the city cannot legally do any construction on property it does not own, especially when using a federal grant to do so. And recent survey work has determined the current city sidewalk along the east side of Locust Street "has been occupying private property for 80 years," Hughes said.

"The platting is a bit off," the mayor understated.

Hughes agreed.

"Surveying in the early 20th century was a pretty tight science," he assessed, "but they made some big mistakes."

Locust Street has been pushed back on the streetscape schedule because right-of-way acquisition will now be necessary, and that can take time. In its place, Washington Street was moved up from the 2014 agenda to 2013.

Hughes also reminded the group that most of the streets downtown were built out of concrete in the 19th century and have since been overlaid with layers of asphalt.

The concrete beneath the asphalt has deteriorated, he said, and humps up in places that break up the asphalt surface.

Hughes also noted that one of the goals of the overall streetscape project is to make the downtown more pedestrian friendly.

"Streets are not just curb to curb any more," the city engineer said, "but go right-of-way to right-of-way."

Bump-outs at several crucial downtown intersections have been designed with pedestrian safety in mind, he said. They provide better visibility of and for the pedestrian.

Hughes also pointed out that the streetscape design allows for more landscaping as well as providing streetlights that match those installed on the square.

"We want to carry that theme throughout the downtown," he added.

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