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New sidewalks will revamp downtowns look

Improvements - City contractor will begin installing new sidewalks, wheelchair ramps and a raised traffic island in Forest Grove next week

Forest Grove's Town Center Pedestrian Improvement Project is about to begin.

This project promises to dramatically change the appearance of our downtown core. Even though we have a very special downtown already, this project promises to make it even better

The project will install new sidewalks with brick accent strips, street lighting, wheelchair ramps, benches, bicycle racks, trash receptacles and street trees with decorative grates.

Most of the work will occur in three spots:

• On 21st Avenue between College Way and A Street

• On Pacific Avenue between College Way to A Street

• On Main Street between 19th Avenue and Pacific Avenue.

A contract for construction has been awarded to Kodiak Pacific Construction of Tualatin. A schedule for construction has been submitted by the contractor and work will start on the north side of 21st Avenue on April 28.

After work has been substantially completed on the north side they will shift to the south side.

Pedestrian traffic and parking in the immediate work area will be limited or closed on the construction side of the street. The contractor will make accommodations for access to business during this time. This will be the standard procedure for all streets.

While one crew is working on 21st Avenue, another will be working on wheelchair ramp improvements at various intersections along Pacific and 19th avenues between Hawthorne and Main Streets, as well as construction of an island area west of Maple Street at the couplet of 19th and Pacific Avenues.

The sidewalk work on 21st Avenue should be completed by mid-June although installation of the street lights and other amenities may take a little longer. The contractor will shift efforts to Pacific Avenue when sidewalks are completed on 21st Avenue.

The contractor hopes to have all improvements substantially completed by the end of September 2008.

As mentioned earlier, many of these improvements will take place within the downtown core and will affect access to some local businesses as well as the farmers market. The city will work with the contractor to assure the least impact on local businesses as possible.

It is important to remember that when finished, this project will make our community an even better place to live, learn, work and shop downtown.

Nick Kelsay is an engineer with the City of Forest Grove.