A project involving the installation of new sidewalks and other streetscape improvements has passed the halfway mark in downtown LaFayette, Ga.
Workers with Johnson Landscapes from Cumming, Ga., were installing new sidewalks Thursday on West Villanow Street. A $250,000 Georgia Department of Transportation grant and $62,500 in city matching funds is paying for new sidewalks, street lamps, curbs and gutters, benches and garbage containers on both sides of East and West Villanow one block off Main Street. South Main Street between Patton and Napier streets will get the same treatment.
Improvements include installing a 2-foot-wide strip of brick paving between the curb and sidewalk and installing bulb-outs, or curb extensions, at intersections to make pedestrians more visible and reduce the distance they need to walk to cross the street.
Work started about two months ago and should be finished in two months, city Engineering Superintendent Rod Robertson said.
"They're doing quite well. We're over 50 percent done," Robertson said Thursday of the work's progress. "I haven't heard any negative responses [from affected businesses], other than, 'Give us as much parking as you can.'"
The sidewalk has been torn up for about two weeks in front of Chapman Jewelry.
"The construction's been kind of a hassle," store owner Josh Chapman said. "I hope it's just growing pains.
"I haven't lost any parking. That was my main concern," he said.
Chapman said there's more of a buzz about downtown LaFayette since he opened his store there in 1998.
"I think they're trying to promote downtown more," he said. "At least they're not letting it fall apart."
Tim Omarzu covers education for the Times Free Press. Omarzu is a longtime journalist who has worked as a reporter and editor at daily and weekly newspapers in Michigan, Nevada and California.