City considers

shifting phases of Streetscape

By Kevin Hanson

The Courier-Herald

Phasing for the downtown Streetscape project could be flip-flopped a bit, as contractors have suggested their work would be more efficient if it proceeded uninterrupted along Cole Street.

Work crews are expected to finish Phase 2 - Cole Street between Stevenson and Initial avenues - by Monday. Then work shifts to the opposite end of the project, where Phase 3 will see reconstruction of Cole between Myrtle and Marshall, a three-week effort.

The current debate centers on the two blocks straddling the busy Griffin Avenue intersection. Presently, Phase 4 is identified as the block to the south, between Initial and Griffin, and Phase 5 is the block to the north, between Griffin and Myrtle. Contractors have suggested switching the two phases, so work could progress continuously south for an entire three-block stretch.

"From an efficiency standpoint, it makes a lot of sense," said Les Johnson, community development director for the city. His comments came Friday morning during a weekly "coffee with the contractor" meeting, in front of about a dozen downtown merchants.

A decision regarding the possible change in the work schedule is expected this week, after Johnson has had an opportunity to wander Cole Street, taking input from those doing business in the downtown core.

The final leg of the entire Streetscape project - Phase 6, improvements to Griffin Avenue between Wells and Porter - will not be altered.

Kevin Hanson can be reached at

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