Urbancrest works on improvements

In the upcoming months, residents can expect to see major upgrades within the Village of Urbancrest.

"There are improvements going up all over the place," said Mayor Joseph Barnes Sr.

The improvements he spoke of, at a special Aug. 26 meeting, were the $250,000 street repair project and the $300,000 Bending Brook infrastructure project.

"We are very proud of our investment in the Bending Brook apartments," said Franklin County Commission President Marilyn Brown. "I believe the improvements we are making will enhance the lives of the residents by providing them with a safe place for their families to grow."

The Bending Brook infrastructure project will increase the safety of the estimated 158 households in the apartment complex by providing sidewalks, speed bumps, lighting and handicapped accessibility throughout the area.

The sidewalks will be constructed to provide safe passage through the railroad crossing and to the nearby community center and bus stop.

"Nothing is more important to us than the health and safety of our children," said Commissioner Paula Brooks. "Parents can worry less about speeding vehicles, and we hope the new lighting will also keep the neighborhood safe and secure."

Construction on the Bending Brook  project is estimated to begin Sept. 29 and is supposed to be completed by the end of November.

Street repairs

At a recent village council meeting, it was announced that construction would soon start on street repairs to Central Avenue, Main Street and Second Avenue, but the board just knew a rough estimate on when it would begin.

At the special meeting, officials announced the first day of construction and addressed issues.

"The alleys might be a problem," said Mark Pollock with the Strawser Paving Company. "They have been maintained very well. There is about 10 or 20 percent that can definitely be used for milling, but about 80 percent of the alleys look like someone has maintained it their own lawn and even put up some trees.

"I was afraid to drive on it and check it out more."

The question of who owns and maintains the alleys were raised, but Barnes said the village maintains the alleys.

The reason it posed a problem was because the contractors have to dig the road up to begin the reconstruction process, and did not want to do so without the property owners signing off on the project.

Pollock added if they cut the grass and then put the milling (recycled road asphalt) in, 1.5 inches of grass would end up coming back up and disturbing the asphalt.

"It would cost more to maintain, so I would recommend just stripping it (the grass) out," he said.

The $250,000 street improvement project has been in the works since the village appealed to Franklin County for a Community Development Block Grant in 2006.

Construction will begin on Sept. 8 (weather permitting), and Pollock added they will be giving the Urbancrest residents 48-72 hours notice before they start construction on their street so the areas can be cleared of parked cars in the construction zone.

The project is scheduled to be completed by Oct. 10.

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