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By Erin Smith

Work on the Phase II Revitalization Project has gotten underway in Elizabethtown with construction work along West Broad Street in the vicinity of Pine Street. Crews have been busy removing the sidewalk along West Broad Street beginning at Pine Street in preparation for work to begin.

Elizabethtown Town Manager Eddie Madden said the outlined project area will range from Pine Street to Gillespie Street along NC Highway 87 (West Broad Street), and construction will consist of placing utility service lines underground. The anticipated cost of the project is expected to be $1.6 million and is funded through a low interest loan from the USDA.

“Construction is expected to be completed within six months,” said Town Manager Eddie Madden.

Currently, Directional Services Incorporated is working to install conduit in preparation for the burial of the overhead utilities on the north side of West Broad Street, according to Madden.  The town is also planning to install decorative street lighting that will complement the lighting in the Phase I revitalization.

“It’s a different fixture, however, we have incorporated the smaller decorative lighting in certain locations to tie together the first phase and to accent the downtown,” said Madden.

He added that the town also has plans to plant 18 Live Oak trees in the Phase II revitalization area as well. The trees will be planted in the fall of the year once the rest of the project is completed.

“We’ve had a good response from the residents for the live oak project,” said Madden.

He said the town will plant the trees well back from the sidewalk and town staff have had to obtain permission from residents to plant the trees on their property. Madden said the trees set back far enough from the sidewalk so the root systems will not undermine the sidewalks.

Madden said that many residents through the years have commented how they missed the overhead canopy that once covered West Broad Street.

“We are trying to bring back the tree lined corridor everyone remembers,” said Madden of the Live Oak project. “Having all of the overhead lines buried will make an impact.”

Madden said the revitalization project being undertaken is based on a 2004 study performed by the NC Department of Commerce that indicated the town should undertake burying the overhead utility lines as a community enhancement project.  The town has divided the project into three phases. Phase I involved the downtown area, Phase II will include the area from Pine Street to Gillespie Street along NC Highway 87, and Phase III will include the area along South Poplar Street to Cape Fear Valley-Bladen Healthcare. Madden said planning and preparation work on the Phase III revitalization will not start for several years.



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