West Jeffersons $3 million Main Street enhancement project is near completion. To celebrate, village officials will hold a grand reopening of Main Street at 10 a.m. Oct. 22 in front of town hall.
West Jefferson High Schools marching band will perform several songs, including the national anthem, during which color guard from West Jeffersons American Legion Post 201 and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 7005 will raise flags on three new flag poles in front of town hall.
Mayor Darlene Steele will speak. She also has extended invitations to former mayors Tom Phillips and Scott Hockenbery to speak because they had a part in the grant process that funded a large portion of the project.
To adults who attend the ceremony, West Jefferson council members will distributea gift to enhance their shopping experience on Main Street, said Steele. Several area merchants plan to offer deals, discounts and giveaways as part of the celebration.
The Main Street enhancement project included the replacement of old sewer lines, addition of more lamp posts, and installation of new catch basins, sidewalks, curbs, benches and trash receptacles. The traffic lanes have been reconfigured; now, one lane runs each way with a turning lane in the middle. The traffic light at Chester street has been removed. The remaining traffic lights are being replaced with new units that will hang from metal arms that extend over the street. Slow-growing, hardy Japanese lilac and American ironwood trees will be planted soon.
“We rolled a bunch of projects into a one-time deal. We know it was an inconvenience (to motorists and merchants) but it was done in record time, Steele said.
The project started in March with the removal of trees along Main Street. Major construction work started in April. Heavy spring rains affected the schedule, but crews have stayed within the allotted days for bad weather delays, Steele said.
Funding for the project came from a combination of Ohio Department of Transportation grants, federal stimulus money and local matching dollars. West Jefferson has already paid $100,000 of its share with revitalization fees collected since 2009 on new development. The village will pay another $400,000 through a 20-year no-interest loan using more revitalization fees and money received from the state for license plate sales.