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Hartselle chooses engineering firm for canopy project

By Deangelo McDaniel
dmcdaniel@decaturdaily.com 340-2469

HARTSELLE — If you own a business that fronts Main Street from Sycamore and Corsbie streets, change is coming.

A council majority agreed Monday night to sign a $28,000 contract with Sentell Engineering of Tuscaloosa to design new canopies.

"This is the same company that designed the first phase," City Planner Jeremy Griffith said.

In addition to canopy replacement, the plans will include sidewalk repairs and new lighting, said Jeff Johnson of the Department of Development.

Hartselle is using a $309,741 grant from the Alabama Department of Transportation to fund the project. The city will provide a 20 percent match, which will most likely come from in-kind work.

Mayor Dwight Tankersley was not at Monday's meeting, but he has called the project significant because the state is providing money that will allow Hartselle to restore the entire downtown historic district.

Phase 1, which involves 35 property owners and more than 40 businesses, covers business fronts from Railroad and Sycamore streets. A $480,000 grant is funding that phase.

"The second grant allows us to pretty much take care of Main Street in downtown," Griffith said.

The city plans to bid phase 1 in the fall and start construction in early 2008 after the Christmas shopping season.

For about four years, the city has talked about replacing the more than 30-year-old canopies, which are deteriorating.

One of the big changes with the new canopies is they will have slated roofs, which make it easier for city workers to maintain them.

Griffith said the state and
Alabama Historical Commission have approved plans for phase 1.

The project also received overwhelming support from business owners during a public hearing in January. They encouraged Hartselle to keep the historic look, but make downtown more handicap accessible.

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