Downtown Tipp City will get a new look both under and above ground.
Long talked about plans to replace aging downtown utilities – water, sewer, storm sewer – have been joined in recent weeks by a streetscape project.
The streetscape would include Main Street reconstruction from the railroad to First Street; new curb, gutter and sidewalk; new trees; paver bricks at street corners, behind the curb and in drive/alley approaches; new streetlights; new mast arm traffic signals; and trash cans and water fountain.
Combining the projects was discussed briefly Dec. 17 by City Council before it voted to expand the downtown utilities project design contract with Choice One Engineering to include the streetscape design. The added design cost was approved at $78,462.
The combined projects were discussed in more detail the following night at a public meeting downtown.
City Manager Jon Crusey outlined the project plans. “We’re pretty excited about this project,” he told downtown building and business owners along with downtown area residents.
Anyone interested in seeing the general streetscape design can view work done a few years ago along West Main Street in the area of Interstate 75. The streetscape design also can be seen on the city website at www.tippcityohio.gov.
To accommodate the streetscape elements, plans call for the narrowing of the driving lanes of Main Street downtown from 17 feet, 6 inches for each of the two lanes to two 14-foot lanes. That will allow for about 3.5 more feet of sidewalk on each side of the street, Crusey said.
Several people questioned if narrower streets would interfere with drivers attempting to turn semis in the downtown area. The problem in that situation is not the width of street but where vehicle stop bars are located on the street, said Tony Schroeder of Choice One.
Although plans were to do the downtown utility work first, then pursue streetscape in a few years, the utility project preliminary design showed that there would need to be extensive demolition and replacement of sections of curb, gutter and sidewalk downtown. Initially plans called for patching disturbed areas to replace utilities and then doing a streetscape project in a few years.
The plans changed when the preliminary design included so much demolition, Crusey said. “We decided if we have to put in new sidewalk, we should consider a streetscape project, too, instead of coming back in five years and tearing up recently placed concrete or other materials,
The council will consider assessments for curb and gutter, four feet of sidewalk and driveway approaches. City Engineer Scott Vagedes said cost estimates would be easier to calculate once project bids are received.
The goal is to have the downtown work substantially completed in time for the 2013 Yuletide Winter’s Gathering in November.
Schroeder said the project would be done in phases beginning with the section from First Street west to Third Street.
The project will require coordination and cooperation. “We will find things downtown none of us know about,” he said.
Street closings will be required during the project. The detour will be over Broadway. Parking downtown also will be a concern during the project. “We will do our best to use signs, etcetera, to make sure people know there is parking and where downtown,” Crusey said.
The Downtown Tipp City Partnership (DTCP) will work with businesses and the public to make the project “as painless as we can,” said Tara Dixon Engel, DTCP director.
Downtown Utilities/Streetscape project funding
Where Will the Money Come From?
Ohio Public Works Commission (OPWC) grant: $400,000
OPWC loan: $1.4 million
Water Fund: $175,000
Sewer Fund: $175,000
Capital Improvement Fund: $550,000
Electric Fund: $200,000
Total: $2.9 million