by: Photo By Holly M. Gill - Officials from ODOT, Culver and state agencies discuss an $800,000 revitalization project that will change the look of downtown Culver.

   A spruced up downtown area -- with sidewalks, lighting and landscaping -- is in the works for the city of Culver, thanks to two large state grants.
   Before the city's centennial in 2010, city leaders intend to roll out the improvements, according to Culver Mayor Dan Harnden.
   The Oregon Department of Transportation selected Culver for an $800,000 Transportation Enhancement Program Award for 2007. Culver was one of 14 chosen from a field of 75 applicants for Oregon's 2008-2011 Statewide Transportation Improvement Program.
   Additionally, the city has been awarded $80,000 from the Oregon Department of Housing Small Community Incentive Fund. That money will be used for the design and engineering for the project.
   Last year, the city set aside $10,000 to hire a consultant. The consultant will develop the plans and specifications for the project in order to give that information to ODOT.
   "ODOT will advertise and award (the bid), and make all the contract payments," explained Randi Kobernik, of ODOT.
   The first public meeting on the plans will likely be held in August, with construction beginning in 2009 or 2010.
   The award will allow the city to put lighting and sidewalks on both sides of First Avenue (Highway 361), from A Street to D Street, with sidewalk bulb-outs to make the street more pedestrian-friendly, and slow traffic. The project will also improve drainage, add landscaping, and control business access points.
   "We'll enhance the safety of downtown," said City Recorder Donna McCormack.
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