Tuesday, August 07, 2012

TOP STORY >> Beautification plan to spruce up Cabot

Leader staff writer

New sidewalks, banner poles and full-grown, red crepe myrtle trees will be installed from 5th to 9th streets under a Main Street beautification plan in Cabot.

The work is expected to go out for bids next month and be completed next summer.

The $306,000 project will be paid with a $200,000 state highway grant and $66,000 in federal funds, leaving the city to pay only $40,000 of the cost. But one city council member said during a committee meeting Monday night that the project is so good, he would like to make it bigger if the price isn’t too high.

Alderman Ed Long, the chairman of the public works committee, asked last month for an update on the project that has been in the works for at least two years. He asked Brian Boroughs, head of the city’s public works department, Monday to find out how much it will cost to extend the project to 10th Street. It would be less expensive to do it along with the rest of the project because the workers would already be on the site. Besides, Long said, he has been around long enough to know that you almost never go back to a project when it’s done.

The city is doing well financially, Long said. He told Boroughs that if he needs more money for the project, it could probably be included in the 2013 budget.

“If you don’t complete it when you start it, it’s going to be a lot harder,” Long said.

Long was also concerned about talk of installing fewer than the planned 46 banner poles that will also include traffic signs.

“Don’t downgrade the poles to where it looks like we ran out of money,” he said. “This is a good opportunity to develop a good entrance to the city. Let’s don’t cheapen it. It could make this city look really good.”

Boroughs said since the project will be paid mostly by the state and it is on a state highway, the state calls the shots.

The $200,000 state grant is for a streetscape, which is a beautification project with sidewalks. Boroughs said he would have preferred to spend the money on more sidewalks with a few holly bushes, but it’s not up to him or anyone else in the city.

The project also will include filling one ditch with concrete drain pipes and eliminating several driveways at businesses that have more than is needed.

Boroughs said he is also talking to Entergy about relocating the overhead powerlines in the area so they don’t detract from the finished project.