Fourth Street improvements on the horizon for 2018December 13, 2017
By CANDY NEAL
HUNTINGBURG — As construction on Market Street Park continues, improvements along Fourth Street are on the horizon.
While improvements are being made, officials know that continuous communication with the public will be needed to let visitors know that businesses are open and how to access them during construction.
Market Street Park work has been underway since September. The $4-million park will span Fourth and Geiger streets with its center just east of Old Town Hall and will include many features such as pavilions, walkways, terraces and a lot of seating.
Construction has caused some confusion for the Huntingburg Opry. Owner David Wayne said he has gotten calls from people who have tickets asking if shows are still being held.
“The parking area that people used (which sits to the east of Old Town Hall) has been torn up,” Wayne said. “So people think that we’re closed.”
The Opry is in fact open, and will have its already sold-out Christmas show on Saturday. “I want people to know that we are still having the show,” he said.
Showgoers can park in nearby parking areas at Huntingburg Machine Works, Old National Bank and the Church of the Nazarene, Wayne said. A free shuttle will bring people back to the theater.
After Saturday’s show, the Opry will go on a hiatus until Market Street Park is complete, Wayne said. “We will take a break until the park is done and do some remodeling,” he said.
Market Street Park is expected to be completed in late spring or early summer.
Since starting the park’s construction, workers have found some surprises. In October, a debris-filled basement was found on the park’s west side, immediately south of Old Town Hall. Engineers originally thought it would cost about $90,000 to stabilize the area enough for a sidewalk to be laid over it.
But the area is not below a sidewalk, which made the cost decrease significantly, Engineer Nathan Waggner of Cash Waggner & Associates explained to the Huntingburg Common Council Tuesday night. Instead of $90,000, the cost for the work will be less than $20,000
Workers recently found a phone pedestal owned by Frontier Communications at Third Street, which is the south end of the park. The pedestal is a junction box where wires meet. Frontier is going to convert the box so that the wires will instead be underground, Waggner said. It will cost the city $2,700. The council approved the cost.
While the park construction is underway, officials plan to start work on the east portion of Fourth Street, between Jackson Street at U.S. 231, as part of its Fourth Street Heritage Trail improvements. The Huntingburg Board of Public Works and Safety approved construction documents Tuesday afternoon. Those bid documents will be sent to interested construction companies.
Fourth Street between Geiger and Jackson streets will get a facelift with an added driving lane and sidewalk; a lane situated between the two will be used optionally as a walking lane, parking area or space for outdoor uses by a business, like seating. Trees and planters will be placed in what is now the parking lane, leaving about three parking spaces in between the planters. Businesses will have options for using part of the sidewalk or the parking lane in front of their business for enhancements like seating.
The board will open bids at its Feb. 1 meeting, which starts at 8:30 a.m. It also set an additional February meeting to consider hiring a construction company. Both of those meetings will be held at City Hall, 508 E. Fourth St.
Work will be done on the east block from February to May 2018 and on the west block, which is from U.S. 231 to Geiger Street from June to August 2018. The street’s intersection with U.S. 231, which will include the state installing a new stoplight, will be worked on from September to October 2018. All work will be done before the 2018 Christmas Stroll, said Nick Jahn of VS engineering said.
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