CLEVELAND, Tenn. -- Ignoring the Monday morning rain, Lee Blankenship and Jeff Creasman began power-washing decades of grime from the Inman Street railroad underpass.
The power washing will take about two days, Creasman said, then painting should begin Wednesday, "but I don't know what color it is yet."
"The city already came in and stripped off the vines," he said, showing where roots had dug into the walls.
The cleaning is part of a project to revitalize the eastern gateway to downtown, explained Sharon Marr, executive director of MainStreet Cleveland.
The underpass is just a block away from the Museum Center at Five Points and from First Street Square, another project between the city of Cleveland and MainStreet.
According to City Manager Janice Casteel, the underpass area will be closed 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day through Friday. Motorists can use the marked truck route around the underpass during those times, she said.
In 2004, MainStreet Cleveland hired advisers to create a downtown master plan. Parts of the plan have been accomplished during the past eight years, including the county courthouse plaza and the new First Street Square city park.
Another gateway project is at the opposite end of Inman Street, where MainStreet is working with Oasis convenience store owner Theresa Evans to create a new look coming into downtown from the west, Marr said.
MainStreet has a $25,000 capital budget from members' support, grants and money from events. The money will be used for the two gateway projects and two other projects in months to come.
Contact staff writer Randall Higgins at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-314-1029.