Mayor: Washington Street will get worse before better
Plans to keep Washington Street passable during impending heavy construction, thoughts of more four-way stops and fewer traffic lights and improvements to Central Park contemplated with the addendum, “We are not anti-tree!”
Mt. Pleasant Mayor Steve Brimhall gave a wide-ranging overview of the city’s progress, plans and possibilities regarding the improvement of alleys, sidewalks and streets Friday at a meeting of a dozen members of Main Street Mount Pleasant at de Briton Baking Bistro. Brimhall filled in for City Administrator Brent Schleisman, who was unable to attend but whose efforts to direct street projects were lauded by the mayor.
“He’s trying to do the best he can for the people,” Brimhall said of Schleisman.
In that regard the administrator wants to keep at least one lane of Washington Street open during the “Phase II” construction now under way between Haynes and Locust streets. Brimhall said remaining work when weather permitted would include finishing under-street sewer improvements in the westbound lanes, then a switch to water line improvements that run through the eastbound lanes.
Shipley Construction of Burlington, assisted by some local subcontractors, will then tear out existing concrete before resurfacing takes place, Brimhall said.
“It’s going to get worse before it gets better,” Brimhall said of the Washington Street construction area.
As the term implies, “Phase II” is the second of a three-part approach to improving Washington Street, with the downtown area of the main east-west thoroughfare to be repaired beginning in 2012. Probably the year following other improvements to downtown streets, curbing, sidewalks and Central Park will take place.
Brimhall repeatedly noted that no final decisions had been made, and pointed out the council would have a wide-ranging work session with Schleisman to “look at everything” for future city planning on Saturday, March 19. At the same time, the mayor was willing to pose questions that the city government may discuss about what improvements could take place.
How will Central Park be improved?
New sidewalks, landscaping to improve drainage and some tree replacements to help preserve the Edd King Memorial Fountain are being discussed. One or more trees are causing problems because of their proximity to the landmark fountain, Brimhall claimed, “and one or two trees might be replaced by seven or eight trees,” emphasizing the city’s respect and desire to preserve trees in the park that may have been misunderstood in the past.
For more on this story, see the March 7 issue of the Mt. Pleasant News.