City gets grant to put sidewalks out Old Weston Road

BUCKHANNON – Drivers who take the Main Street exit will one day be welcomed to Buckhannon by freshly laid sidewalks and newly installed period lighting.

Buckhannon City Council learned at its Thursday, Feb. 1 meeting that the city has been awarded a West Virginia Division of Highways Transportation Alternative grant in the amount of approximately $311,000 to complete the long-awaited Gateway West Phase II project.

Mayor David McCauley announced that the city had been awarded the grant.

“Very soon, as you come off of the first Buckhannon Main Street exit, you will have entirely new sidewalks and period lighting, and I’m sure Mrs. Cuppari will be wanting to put those holiday banners on them. It’s a great day to be a Sunny Buck-er.”

Councilwoman Pam Cuppari heads the city’s downtown decoration committee.

Following the meeting, city engineer Jay Hollen provided more details about the project, saying the total project budget is $389,295. While the city will initially foot the bill for construction, it will then submit invoices to the W.Va. Department of Transportation-DOH for 80 percent reimbursement.

The project encompasses 3,200 feet of concrete sidewalks, driveway approaches, minor street and roadway repairs, 2,900 feet of electric conduit, 28 LED historic-themed street lights, drainage outlets and grouted riprap outfalls, according to Hollen.

“This phase of the Gateway West project … will begin at the Bill Kelley property adjacent to Rite Aid and continue in a generally westerly direction along the north side of the Old Weston Road,” Hollen explained in an email. “The project will terminate approximately 30 feet east of the railroad tracks (i.e. it will not cross the railroad tracks).”

Hollen said he’s in the midst of completing design drawings for the project and noted it’s too early to estimate a start date for the project.

In other city news, council unanimously approved new signage for Buckhannon’s two downtown historic districts designed by the Historic Landmarks Commission. At council’s Thursday, Feb. 1 meeting, councilman Robbie Skinner, a member of the Historic Landmarks Commission, said the city’s Consolidated Public Works Board had recommended the city approve the signage.

“The Historic Landmarks Commission has been working on this for quite some time to develop consistent signage in the two historic districts, one being the downtown commercial district, and the second being the central Buckhannon residential district, which is outlined by Kanawha Street to College Avenue to Florida Street and then back into the downtown area,” Skinner said.

Skinner held up a brown-colored vinyl mockup of what the signs would look like, if approved.

“The brown look with the historic landmarks logo would be for the historic district,” Skinner explained. “This, of course, matches the signs that have started to go up around town that are the green, orange and a little bit of red for the nonhistoric district.”

Skinner said achieving continuity between the regular street signs and the signs demarcating historic districts was a primary goal of the historic landmarks commission.

“We’re continuing the continuity, but we want to bring awareness to the historic district from a geographical standpoint because right now, there is none,” he said. “We’ve had the historical districts established for quite some time, but this will start to bring some notoriety to them via street sign boundary.”

Skinner said the commission chose a sign with more visible lettering so residents and visitors could read it from afar. There are two types of historic district signs – ones that will be placed at street intersections within the bounds of the two historic districts and others that will mark properties of interest, he said.

Skinner said he wants to work with information coordinator and grants writer Callie Sams to post a tab on the city’s website detailing historically significant properties and residences.

Skinner made a motion that the city accept the Consolidated Public Works Board’s recommendation to adopt the signage, which was seconded by councilman CJ Rylands and passed unanimously.

Before adjourning, council also:

-Appointed Francisco Figueroa as the city’s tourism appointee to the Upshur County Convention and Visitors Bureau

-Tabled the proposed appointment of Dr. Joseph Reed to the Housing Enforcement Board until council’s Feb. 15 meeting

-Learned Tim Critchfield had donated $10,000 to the Stockert Youth Center capital campaign, fulfilling the Mike Ross Challenge. The fund to construct a new gymnasium/auditorium now totals $176,000, according to mayor David McCauley.

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