By Alex Bridges
Strasburg stands poised to begin work to enhance its downtown and to replace aging pipes along the way.
More than a dozen people showed up Monday night for the town's open house on the Utility and Downtown Streetscape Enhancement projects. Director of Utilities Mark Gundersen gave a brief presentation about the projects and answered questions from those in attendance.
The second forum is scheduled for 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. Thursday.
The first phase calls for improvements to the utilities - water and sewer - along King Street between Fort and Holliday streets. Gundersen said he anticipates work to begin on the phase in mid March and completed by Mayfest. By then the hope is that the town will have a contractor selected to perform the Streetscape enhancements.
Utility work is scheduled to occur from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. Monday through Friday, Gundersen said. Parking will be restricted on either side of King Street during those times. Crews will limit traffic to one lane. Asphalt work will be performed during the day on Fridays.
"You can expect delays during the project," Gundersen said. "It will be a construction zone."
Town officials anticipate a contractor will begin the streetscape enhancement in early June. Work on the project is likely to take a year, according to Gundersen.
Strasburg resident Patrick Kehoe said he initially opposed the bump-outs planned for several of the intersections but realized some are needed for improved handicapped accessibility. In meetings and work sessions on the project plans Kehoe has expressed his opposition to traffic islands, but those design elements are not included in the first phase.
Hometown Strasburg volunteer Carla Wallen said the streetlamps appeal to her, especially given the current lighting situation along King Street.
"I think that it's going to bring so much more visibility to the town in the evening and [is] a big safety feature," Wallen said.
The streetscape as designed likely should make visitors feel even more welcome in town, Wallen said. The trees were chosen specifically for each location long the route, according to Wallen.
"I think there's such a pride in the town by everyone who lives here and we've had comments by visitors that they feel as though Strasburg is more their hometown than their own hometown because the people are so sincere," Wallen said.
Contact staff writer Alex Bridges at 540-465-5137 ext. 125, or firstname.lastname@example.org