Saturday, August 14, 1999

Hamilton street-scape may finish early

Merchants, shoppers tested

Enquirer contributor

        HAMILTON — “No pain, no gain,” is the approach Mort Goldberg is taking to Hamilton's yearlong High Street street-scape project.

        “It's going good,” said Mr. Goldberg, who has owned Mayor's Jewelers on High Street for more than 40 years. “They've almost got one side of it finished, and they're supposed to start on this side when they're finished with the other one.

        “I guess it's not supposed to be done until December, which is bad for us; but you have to go along with the flow. When you're making improvements, you have to suffer until it's done.”

        Mr. Goldberg might not have to suffer as long as he thinks, said Vickie Bowman, the resident project representative for Finkbeiner, Pettis and Strout Inc., an engineering company serving as the project administrator for the city. She said the project could be finished by Oct. 22.

        “We had some delays with the utilities due to some conflicts, but the contractor (R.A. Miller Construction, St. Clair Township) has picked up the pace,” Ms. Bowman said. “If he maintains his pace, we should be able to get it finished by the projected time.”

        If there are more delays, then it might linger into next year, because no work is supposed to be done between Thanksgiving and Christmas, Ms. Bowman said.

        “If I were to guess, I'd say we have four total blocks done — maybe 50 percent,” said Ms. Bowman, who was starting to prepare an estimate of the progress.

        The High Street Project, which started in February with the installation of a water line and moving of other utilities, will include:

        • Building new and larger curbs.

        • Rebuilding sidewalks with brick inlays.

        • Adding two small islands in the middle of the street.

        • Extending sidewalks coming into High Street farther into the street to make crosswalks shorter.

        • Removing wires hanging over the street.

        • Installing pole-mounted traffic signals.

        The landscaping also is to be updated, but much of that isn't expected to happen until next spring, City Engineer Bernie Showman said.

        “We won't be able to do things like plant bulbs until then,” Mr. Showman said. “I think everything is going well.... It's going to look very sharp.”

        “Nobody could complain about how it looks,” Mr. Goldberg said. “They've got those new digital parking meters in, which is nice. They're doing a good job.”

        Mr. Showman said the project also appears to be on course to meet its $5.6 million budget.

        Activity at Mr. Goldberg's store and other businesses has suffered a noticeable decrease.

        “You can't park. You can't walk. People who come in are all complaining,” he said. “I know it's hurt the restaurants, too. Will it be fatal? No. It's an inconvenience.”


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