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Downtown updates

By Randy Garrison

I really appreciate all the kind words many have shared about the recent updates in the downtown area of our hometown. I realize it has been a pain and an inconvenience for a few months for many who travel the streets around downtown. However, progress does require a little patience – from me included – in order to have changes and improvements. The good news is, this portion is almost completed.

The sidewalk project on Hickory and Railroad has been in the construction phase since last fall. The new sidewalks look really good and have added not only better walkability to this area of downtown but also added to the looks of the area. 

New sidewalks to match the stained concrete on Main Street have been added, which are also handicap-accessible, and those have been completed. Curbs and gutters were also added on Hickory, making walking there much easier and safer. 

With the new curbs on Hickory, parking is no longer available in front of Standard Furniture. This was a problem and blocked visibility for those traveling north at the intersection of Railroad and Hickory.

New lighting, which matches the downtown lamps also, has been added from Sparkman headed east on Hickory to the railroad crossing. This adds a continuous loop of lights down this street, since many use the parking lot west of the Depot for parking for restaurants and other parking in the downtown area. With this new lighting comes increased safety, and the addition also gives this area a similar look to Main Street, which helps to expand the area thought of as downtown. 

The Sparkman and Hickory streets intersection has new pavement; the dip in the street has been repaired, and a smooth surface is laid for drivers. As part of the project, the hump heading south on Barkley has been repaired as well.

Along with the sidewalks on Railroad, new lighting has been added to match Main Street also. New concrete was poured around the Depot, and the parking area south of the Depot has been redone as well. New asphalt has been poured on this section of railroad. 

If you have traveled this street in the past few days, you might have also noticed another change. With the new updates, diagonal parking has been added in front of the Depot as well as the area across on the west side of Railroad. This enabled more parking spaces to be created and helps with traffic control on this section, as well.

You will also notice new pedestrian crossing areas have been added crossing Hickory and will soon be added crossing from Railroad to Main Street. This will make travel safer for those walking the downtown area and will alert those driving these areas to be aware that folks will be crossing the streets. 

We want all who walk the area downtown to be as safe as possible, and we encourage pedestrians to only cross streets where the pedestrian crossings are located. In the downtown area of Main Street, also, please cross only at the marked crossing areas for your safety.

Again, thanks for the many positive comments about the improvements in this area of downtown Hartselle. All of us involved continue to look for ways to improve our city and make updates and changes that will have a positive effect on all who live here as well as those who visit and shop our downtown merchants. 

Please enjoy the new sidewalks, new lighting and smoother streets.