Work is nearly complete on the streetscape enhancements at the intersection of Jefferson Avenue and Main Street in downtown West Jefferson.
The new look includes brick and concrete “bumpouts” to help pedestrians cross the streets and landscaping with trees and bushes. Decorative street lights have been installed and benches are soon to be added along with decorative stop signs.
Town Manager Brantley Price said work will begin July 30 on the intersection of Jefferson Avenue and Ashe Street, and should be completed by Aug. 22, and other intersections currently painted for the bumpouts will be looked at next year as funding becomes available.
The concrete and storm drainage work is being funded by the Department of Transportation through an agreement with the town that allowed DOT to remove traffic signals to create four-way stops at most of the downtown intersections. The town is paying the difference for the additional streetscape enhancements of brick, decorative signs and landscaping, and the work is being done by Vannoy Construction Company and the town maintenance staff.
During a special meeting last Wednesday, the board voted four to one, with Alderman Calvin Green opposed, to go ahead with the intersection at Jefferson Avenue and Ashe Street.
According to the board’s minutes from the meeting, Alderman Green said the money should not be spent on this new intersection until the town sees how the just completed work fares through the winter. Green also opposed a vote by the board on a budget amendment for the streetscape completion.
In a motion to cancel the regularly scheduled first Monday meeting on July 2, Alderman Stephen Shoemaker voted in opposition. The board decided to cancel that meeting and save any additional business until the August meeting.
In other business at the meeting, the board voted unanimously to move some of the town’s funds from the checking account at one bank to a savings account at another bank.
Also at the meeting, Alderman Lester Mullis recommended removing the old concession stand building as soon as possible at the town park as it was approved for demolition at a previous meeting. Alderman Green suggested the town fire department burn the building one night as a training exercise because removal could cause the building to fall apart. Price said he would check with the fire chief about burning the building.