CENTER, Texas (KTRE) - The downtown area surrounding the Shelby County courthouse in Center will soon undergo major renovations as city leaders execute a streetscape vision for the downtown square.
Mayor David Chadwick said the idea is to give the downtown area a “park atmosphere” by adding wider walkway, greenery, and changing the overall feel.
“We’ll have little areas that will jut out, and certain areas - about four on each side of the square - that will allow greenery to be placed there, perhaps a table and some chairs,” Chadwick said. “All of our light fixtures will be changed; all of our trash cans will be changed."
In addition to traffic components, this project includes beautification of the entire area by replacing all street light fixtures, adding landscaping with irrigation and expanding sidewalks at storefronts and including landings at each intersection, according to Chadwick.
The project is popular among some business owners in the downtown area, who stand to benefit from the additional foot traffic the streetscape would likely bring.
“I’m excited. I’m very, very excited,” said Lacie Payne, the owner of Payne & Payne Home ‘N Suchlike. “With the new that’s coming and the new sidewalks and everything, it’s going to make our downtown area look beautiful, and it’s going to be a positive thing for our community.”
Payne said she realizes construction would probably hamper business, but in this case, the good more than outweighs the bad.
“The good is going to be well worth it,” Payne said. “So, I’m just excited to see how it’s going to turn out and how it’s going to impact our businesses on the square.”
Drivers who pass through Center will notice traffic lights are no longer functioning; the first step in preparing the area for renovation, Chadwick explained.
Construction on the project is set to begin the week of Sept. 3. The $3.9 million project was awarded to The Fain Group who has experience with similar projects in Ennis and Granbury.
Construction will be divided into four distinct segments comprised of one intersection and half blocks in each direction. The initial construction zone will include the intersection of San Augustine and Austin and extend one-half block up each street. Upon substantial completion of that quadrant, construction will proceed clockwise around the square concluding with the Shelbyville St. corner.
After completion of the major roadwork and sidewalks, the landscaping and lighting with be finished.
Construction should last approximately three months for each quadrant and be completed near Sept. 2020, according to the city manager. Detour signage will be placed to assist drivers to avoid the intersection under construction. Existing sidewalk access to all businesses will be available throughout the entirety of the project, however, adjacent parking will be impacted.