Fourth Street redesign mostly completeNovember 18, 2019
By CANDY NEAL
HUNTINGBURG — The bulk of Historic Fourth Street’s redesign is complete.
The west side of the street between U.S. 231 and Geiger Street opened just prior to the Christmas Stroll earlier this month and will stay open.
“It’s still a construction zone. But it is open for use,” Mayor Denny Spinner said.
And business owners on Fourth seem to love the design.
“We have such a neat thing going down here now,” said Brandon Acles, owner of Mama T’s Italian Steak House. “I’m tickled about this new street. I love this.”
“I just had ladies from Indianapolis and Louisville in here. And they were just ooo-ing and ahh-ing over the street,” said Linda Gehlhausen of Gehlhausen’s Flowers & Gifts. “People from big towns come to little towns like us, and this is what they love seeing.”
Milestone Contractors has some final work to complete, which is why the street has not officially been declared finished.
“There will be a few days, maybe about a week that the west side be closed for final treatment and final preparations,” Spinner said. “We don’t know when that is yet. But when that is determined, we will get notification out well in advance of that.”
The west side of Fourth had been closed since late July as part of the Fourth Street Heritage Trail project that started in January. Street renovations started on the east side of Fourth, between U.S. 231 and Jackson Street, in January and was done in July.
The design incorporates part of the Heritage Trail, which is a walking and bicycle path that will ultimately connect the north and south ends of the city.
Fourth Street has on each side a 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. Trees and planter areas are between every three parking spaces.
“What they showed us in the early stages has come to fruition,” Gehlhausen said. “I think next year, it will be gorgeous with the plants growing. It will make the whole street scene more vibrant and impressive.”
Businesses have the option of using part of the sidewalk or the parking lane in front of their business for enhancements like seating.
“We’re going to have some outside dining for sure,” Acles said. “We’re waiting for the spring to come around. We can hardly wait. If the weather permits, we will have it every day.”
Gehlhausen said that she will likely use the outdoor space when the company celebrates its 20th anniversary next year.
“We are going to do some customer appreciation weekends. I can see using it for that,” she said, “some extra seating, having some sale items outside, that type of thing. It will work well for that.”
The redesign has been years in the making and is one of the projects under the Stellar Communities program. Huntingburg was designated by the state as a Stellar Community in 2014.
“This has given us a clean and fresh look,” Gehlhausen said. “And we needed that. It’s beautiful.”
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