After seven years, city ready to begin Oakhurst streetscape
Planning for the Oakhurst streetscape project began seven years ago, but work will finally begin this summer.
During the Monday, Nov. 18, City Commission meeting, commissioners approved agreements to relocate a utility pole for the Oakhurst and downtown streetscape projects.
Deputy City Manager Hugh Saxon said work will begin late spring or early summer. When completed, the project will transform the heart of Oakhurst at the intersections of Oakview Road, East Lake Drive, West Hill Street and West Benson Street. There will be new sidewalks, lighting and trees along these roads, Saxon said.
“The whole objective is to make it safer for pedestrians and bicyclists,” he said.
Mayor Jim Baskett said one challenge for the city will be keeping residents informed about the project. He said there are many new residents who moved to Oakhurst since the initial public input.
“Now when you got over there to start it, it’s all these new people and they don’t even know what we’re going to be doing,” Baskett said.
Saxon said the project’s federal funding is the main reason for the lengthy delay.
“The planning design and review process imposed on these types of projects is extremely time consuming and lengthy,” Saxon said.
In other business, City Commissioners approved a resolution declaring the results of the Nov. 5 City Elections.
As you might recall, there were some problems with the city elections this year. Mark Arnold lost to Lewis Jones by 75 votes in the District 1 School Board race, but not everyone received the correct ballot. The Board of Registration and Elections sent a letter to Decatur City Clerk Janet Kindelberger on Nov. 7 explaining that some residents who voted in District 2 were actually supposed to be voting in District 1. The Board didn’t incorporate the new city district maps. The city provided the county the correct district maps in August of 2012, City Manager Peggy Merriss said.
The Board of Elections concluded that the mistake only affected 10 votes, which was not enough to change the outcome of the election.
The commissioners voted unanimously to declare the results of the election. Merriss said the city is working with the county to ensure same this mistake doesn’t happen again.