LaFAYETTE, Ga. — Downtown LaFayette will get $312,500 in streetscape improvements after the City Council approved the work at its meeting Monday night.
New sidewalks, street lamps, curbs, gutters, benches and garbage containers will be installed on both sides of East Villanow and West Villanow streets one block off North Main Street. The same improvements will be made on both sides of South Main Street between Patton and Napier streets, officials said.
"I think they'll get [construction] started in a couple of months," city Engineering Superintendent Rod Robertson said.
A $250,000 Georgia Department of Transportation grant will cover the cost of the improvements. The GDOT grant requires that the city spend $62,500 in matching funds on engineering, design, field inspection and other expenses the grant doesn't cover.
Resident Shirley Woodard questioned council members about the expense Monday.
"In this economy, we're spending that?" Woodard asked. "That's a lot of money."
City Councilman Wayne Swanson said the city is getting more from the state than it's spending.
"They gave us $500,000," Swanson said, referring to the $250,000 GDOT grant for this phase and a previous $250,000 grant for streetscape improvements on both sides of East Patton Street and the west side of South Duke Street.
The council considered streetscape improvements on West Patton Street and on Duke Street from the courthouse to the LaFayettte-Walker County Library, but those were too expensive to be covered by the state grant, Robertson said.
The first phase of streetscape improvements took about a year to finish. The second phase will be scheduled to minimize interference with business' holiday sales and other events, Robertson said.
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.