The town has approved a contract for a consultant to design future improvements along Main Street.
The $65,500 design will be the blueprint for refreshing the stretch between Montague Street and Rand Mill Road, along with some of the surrounding area.
“It looks fairly barren right now in front of the businesses,” town engineer Tony Chalk said while presenting the contract to the town council his month.
The future project would bring new lighting and other aesthetic upgrades such as planters, and perhaps a new twist on existing benches in downtown.
The work is also expected to address unclear roadway parameters and some stormwater drainage issues behind downtown businesses. The plan is to connect the vibe of the Main Street makeover to the space the town purchased, with plans for a future parking lot off Rand Mill Road.
“The roadway coming out at Rand Mill to Main Street, right now there’s no curb and gutter and you’ve got buildings that are poking very close into the travel way,” Chalk said. “So (it is) really trying to define that area – give some clear delineation where roadway is and address some of the drainage issues and other utility issues that we’ve got at the rear of those properties. There’s a lot going on in this agreement.”
The town set aside $325,000 for the project as part of an original bond allocation.
Chalk said he doesn’t think the work will require all of that money. A $25,000 grant awarded to the town last year is also helping pay for the design.
Councilman Buck Kennedy asked staff to be sure the town is getting a quality product out of the design, given the varied nature of the project.
“I don’t mean this negatively, but this sounds like a hodgepodge of various, small projects that don’t represent a continuous project, like designing a street that’s a thousand-foot long,” Kennedy said.
Both Chalk and John Hodges, Garner’s assistant town manager for developmental services, agreed.
Chalk said continuity is an objective from the corner of Montague and Main streets – the future site of the new Garner Recreation Center – down to Rand Mill Road.
There is no stormwater drainage system on Rand Mill Road, Chalk reminded the council.
“Since we now have the parking lot property, as we plan that out I want to bring some storm drainage up to Rand Mill that will be deep enough to provide some service to the area at the rear of those buildings,” Chalk said. “I think we can provide some relief to some of the problems we’ve been seeing over there for 25 years, 30 years.”