Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Covering Dallas, Monmouth, Independence, Falls City and surrounding areas since 1868
NW Natural Gas has been relocating lines under the sidewalks of Main Street in Monmouth in preparation for new lamp posts as part of ongoing streetscape work.
August 14, 2012
MONMOUTH -- It appears that repaving Main Street, a component of the city's streetscape project in the downtown area that was put on hold because of cost issues, is going to happen after all.
It also means the city's historic core will endure regular construction through at least early October.
"We know with the timing and having to work harder to get funding that we're backed up," said City Manager Scott McClure. "We still want to get the paving done this year.
"It's great for our long term, but we know it's disruptive for businesses."
The enhancement entails new sidewalks, trees and planting beds, decorative light poles, benches, garbage cans and bike racks between Highway 99W and Knox Street on Main Street.
Main Street will also receive an asphalt overlay.
D&T Excavation of Wilsonville was actually to have started work after July 4. City Council pressed pause, however, when it learned the contractor's bid for the streetscape and overlay exceeded a $700,000 estimate by more than $100,000.
The project has been altered, with costs now at $709,000. Last week the council approved funds from the urban renewal district and Monmouth Power & Light to help cover costs.
The Oregon Department of Transportation has also provided $40,000 in assistance.
"I was pleased ODOT was able to step up, being that Main Street is also (state) Highway 51," Mayor John Oberst said.
This all puts the city about a month behind schedule. Streetscape construction should start any time, though the $159,000 overlay won't happen until October. If the rain returns, McClure said there's a chance the work would wait until 2013.
A conclusion can't come soon enough for business owners. Downtown saw regular construction in June with a waterline installation. NW Natural Gas has been relocating lines under sidewalks on Main Street to accommodate the streetscape lamp posts.
Monmouth Hardware owners Tom and Brenda Pell have occasionally set up sandwich boards specifically advertising that they're indeed open during the work.
"We have some customers who walk, bike or have special needs," Brenda Pell said. "They've said it is harder to get to us with wood over the sidewalk.
"We're all trying to stay positive," she continued. "It will be great to have it looking fresh and clean out there when it's done."
Lori Johnson, who owns Amanda's Closet, said her customers have parked at the plaza across the street when there's activity in front of her boutique.
"I did think they would be done before the college kids came back," Johnson said. "I want them to hurry up."
Johnson, too, thinks it will be worth it. She said she's heard from business owners at the east end of Main Street who felt left out during the city's Christmas celebration because most activity is centered at the more beautified west end.
"I want new benches and street lights here because I want to be part of that, too," she said.