published Friday, August 17th, 2012

LaFayette, Ga., streetscape halfway finished

A Johnson Landscapes grading crew works in front of Chapman Jewelry and Repair next to the 100 block of West Villanow Street on Thursday. The work is part of phase two, according to superintendent Ted Boston.
A Johnson Landscapes grading crew works in front of Chapman Jewelry and Repair next to the 100 block of West Villanow Street on Thursday. The work is part of phase two, according to superintendent Ted Boston.
Photo by Tim Barber.

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."

about Tim Omarzu...

Tim Omarzu covers Catoosa and Walker counties 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. Stories he's covered include crime in blighted parts of metro Detroit and Reno, Nev.; environmental activists tree-sitting in California's Sierra Nevada foothills; attempts by the Michigan Militia to take over a township┬╣s government in northern Michigan. A native of Michigan, ...

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