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Business owners asked to weigh in on canopies

By Staff
Leada DeVaney, Hartselle Enquirer
Main Street business owners in Hartselle are being asked their opinion on the future of the canopies that protect downtown's sidewalks.
The city has sent a survey to business owners and renters along Main Street asking if they think the canopies should be removed or renovated. The city recently received a bid to clean and repaint the metal canopies, with estimated costs between $65,000-$100,000.
That cost does not include replacing the existing gutters, electric repairs or cleaning the canopies' roof sections.
The bid came from Kirk Howard Painting of Huntsville. Howard's bid includes providing work crews to do the job at night so not to disturb daily business and draping all storefronts so they will not be damaged while the work is being done.
The city is also considering removing the canopies all together. Woodward Construction and Design of Hartselle estimated the removal would cost the city $39,862.
If the canopies are removed, the existing posts would be cut down to the top of the sidewalk.
Mayor Clif Knight said even though the cost is higher, he would like to see the canopies stay.
"I think the canopies have served a useful purpose for 30 years even though they have not been properly maintained by the city and can continue to be an asset if they are cleaned and repainted," Knight said. "It is my thought that this item should be given priority for funding in the next budget cycle."
The metal canopies are designed to shield people from the elements as they shop in downtown Hartselle. Through the years, the ornate metal structures have become damaged and some sections of the canopies are missing. The gutters are also damaged and have become home to birds and insects.

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