Jonesboro preparing for Streetscape’s second phase

The City of Jonesboro’s Streetscape project altered the way the heart of the town’s downtown area looked by the time construction was finished earlier this year, with the addition of brick sidewalks, tree planters and street lamps.

Now, the city is preparing to expand the renovations to the outer limits of Jonesboro’s downtown area with a second phase of Streetscape, which the town’s mayor, Luther Maddox, said is projected to cost between $2 million, and $2.25 million to build.

The mayor said the city will pay for the project with a $650,000 Georgia Department of Transportation grant, and Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) dollars. He added that contracts for construction work could be in place by the late fall, or early winter.

“We’re hoping that we’ll get bids up during September, or October, and then we’ll probably sign the contract sometime before the first of the new year [2012],” Maddox said. “I don’t see construction beginning before the end of the year, though. We’ll probably break ground sometime in January, or February [of 2012].”

The Streetscape, Phase II, is expected to extend downtown renovations along Main Street northward, from Spring Street, to North Avenue, and southward, from College Street, to South Avenue, according to Jonesboro’s mayor. He added it is planned to also expand the renovations along McDonough Street, to the north from Stockbridge Road, to Johnson Street, and to the south, from College Street, to Turner Road.

Maddox said work will involve repaving North Main Street, South Main Street, and McDonough Street, installing brick crosswalks and new street lamps, and burying utilities. He added that it is projected to take “no more than 12 months” to complete construction on Phase II.

“There won’t be any telephone poles between North Avenue and South Avenue,” the mayor said. The end result will be the soon-to-be renovated areas will match the look of the central downtown area covered in Streetscape’s first phase, he said.

Maddox pointed out that by using leftover SPLOST funds from Phase I, and by securing the Department of Transportation grant, Jonesboro is not expected to have to dig into its financial reserves, or take out loans to cover construction costs for Phase II. And that is something that suits the city just fine, according to the mayor. “We pay as you go,” he said. “We don’t believe in incurring debt to build something.”

While work is only a few months away for Streetscape Phase II, Maddox said there is more uncertainty, however, for the project’s Phase III, which would extend renovations along side streets. He said funding is not secure for that part of the project at this time.