By Ashley Rader
The Downtown Business Association are continuing their efforts to beautify the downtown area and discussed the next steps they will be taking with their different projects during their meeting on Thursday morning.
The DBA has been working for a number of months to improve the appearance of E Street to make it more in line with the look of East Elk Avenue. They have also been working to make some smaller changes to West Elk Avenue to improve the atmosphere on that street as well.
John Huber informed the group that the work on E Street would restart on Monday, July 16. The group has already installed one new planter on E Street at the parking lot beside of Farm Supply. The second phase of work will install a new planter near the intersection of Pine Street and E Street.
Huber said there had been some delay in the project because there were concerns from the city that there would be liability issues if the inmate work crew was to use the pneumatic jackhammer to break up the surface of the street to make room for the planter. Instead the city will provide a backhoe and operator to breakup the pavement and a truck to remove the debris.
“This will move the project along much faster than if it were just us trying to break up the pavement to make the planter,” Huber said.
After the planter area has been excavated, a taller curb will be built. The planter will be filled with mulch and trees and flowers will be placed in it.
The DBA also discussed the placement of the benches along East Elk Avenue and the possibility of adding more benches to the street. Patti Whitson said she had received a request from Leta Hale to remove the bench in front of her store and to place it in front of an adjoining storefront.
Huber said he was hesitant to move the bench because it had been secured into the sidewalk and removing the bench and redrilling through the concrete in a nearby location might damage the sidewalks surface. He added that the benches had been placed in strategic places that followed a plan for West Elk Avenue that had been reviewed and approved by City Council. He said that if one of the benches were moved it could have an affect on the rest of the plan once those benches were installed.
Since Hale was not present at the meeting to explain her request, the DBA decided to defer a decision until next month so she could attend the meeting and give details on why she wanted the bench moved.
Ron McCloud questioned why they did not go ahead and install the second phase of benches since they had the funds in their account to pay for them. Huber said they would have to review the plans first to determine how many would be in the second phase before they could approve that expenditure.
Whitson commented that they should check into adding the planned garbage cans before the next round of benches. She explained that there were very few garbage cans located in downtown and that more should be added. McCloud said if they were going to add more garbage cans at all it should be more like the ones that are attached to the light poles in downtown instead of the larger cans. He said if the larger cans were installed then it would be abused by county residents looking for places to get rid of their personal refuse.
DBA President John Bunn said they should probably wait on a decision on whether to install more benches or garbage cans until the next meeting as well to give more DBA members an opportunity to give their opinions. The attendance at the July meeting was lower, possibly because it was held the day after the July 4th holiday.
Huber informed the group the sidewalk pressure washing schedule would resume this Sunday and that the crew would also be working some nights to make up for the cleanings that were missed.
The DBA is still planning to hold the Betsy Bash on Saturday, Oct. 27 which will coincide with the final car show with the Carter County Cruise In. The Bash will have a fall or a 1950s theme. Bunn said the merchants were encouraged to decorate their windows and their store fronts. The displays will be judged and a winner will be announced. There will be different themed activities planned throughout the day for visitors to participate in.
McCloud added that the last Saturday in October was when the Car Club celebrated Halloween. Many of the members will be dressed in costume and will be distributing candy to the children.