Downtown Infrastructure & Streetscape Improvements
Update - December 18, 2017
The Athens-Clarke County Mayor and Commission are tentatively scheduled to discuss the project concept for infrastructure and transportation improvements on the Clayton Street area at their Agenda Setting Session on Tuesday, December 19, 2017 and are tentatively scheduled to vote on the project concept at their Regular Voting Session on Tuesday, January 2, 2018.
Phase 1 of the project was completed in 2014 by the ACC Public Utilities Department, and included improving water and sewer infrastructure in this area downtown. The overall program was divided into two phases based on downtown business owners' feedback. Phase 2 of the project is designed to install and improve stormwater facilities and other infrastructure, as well as the streetscape on the East Clayton Street area between Thomas Street and Lumpkin Street.
Originally funded through Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) funds, the project originally included the area around City Hall. Phase 2 was put on hold in fall 2015 due to the sole project bid coming in at nearly twice the budgeted amount for the project after the previous bid opportunity received no responses in 2014. Since 2015, plans were changed to reduce costs by eliminating the City Hall area of the project, leaving only the Clayton Street area, and planning for ACC Transportation and Public Works to obtain the needed equipment and crews to undertake the stormwater and other underground infrastructure internally, thus reducing the cost and risk.
On November 7, 2017, voters in Athens-Clarke County approved the Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (TSPLOST) program. One of the projects in this program added funding to the original SPLOST funds for the Clayton Street area project, which has enabled the project to move forward in early 2018 into the planning stage and, later in 2018, the construction stage.
Agenda Item #9 of the Tuesday, December 19 agenda (linked at www.accgov.com/2CXB6K9) asks the Mayor & Commission to do the following at their Tuesday, January 2 meeting:
- approve the proposed project concept elements for Clayton Street Infrastructure & Transportation Improvements that are included in the agenda item attachment;
- approve the project as appropriate for including public art as per Athens-Clarke County policy and requested by the Athens Cultural Affairs Commission;
- authorize staff to advance the stormwater and other underground infrastructure of the project to be built by Athens-Clarke County Transportation and Public Works staff to the construction phase;
- and authorize staff to begin the preliminary plans design phase and to begin taking public input on the preliminary design (expected to begin in mid- to late January 2018).
The public may comment on items under discussion by the Mayor and Commission through an online comment form (linked online here) or in person at the meetings during the appropriate public comment period. The Mayor and Commission discussed the project at their Work Session on Tuesday, December 12. The agenda for that meeting (www.accgov.com/2x8se4i) includes a presentation about the project and some of the project options.
Phase 2 project work will include pavement/sidewalk removal, tree replacement, storm drain installation, pedestrian lighting installation, pavement/sidewalk replacement, and installation of streetscape amenities such as benches, bike racks and planters. The removal of multi-space parking meters and replacement with single space meters in this area was a part of the project that has already been accomplished. Wall Street and North Jackson Street from East Broad Street to Washington Street are still considered part of the overall project that will be considered during the design planning.
For more information on the project, visit www.athensclarkecounty.com/downtownstreetscape or call the SPLOST Program Management Office at 706-613-3025.
Additional information will be sent out in January about upcoming public opportunities and other details.