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Streetscape skating along
Downtown sidewalk remodeling project on schedule
W BIZ DOWNTOWN 01
The bucket of a backhoe is shown Monday during construction of phase two of the downtown Streetscape project on East Main Street. - photo by SCOTT BRYANT/staff
      Sometimes when construction gets started, it really is hard to imagine the final product. You have seen the rendering that has been done by the architect, but your mind just can't quite go there.
       When the streetscape project started in downtown Statesboro on East Main Street, I felt that way. It seemed like it sort of started and stopped. The street and sidewalks were torn up, and frankly I couldn't quite figure out what was being done.
       However, now that stage two is well underway, I can see how attractive and what an improvement it is going to be. I visited with Allen Muldrew, Jason Boyles, and Jerry Rushing regarding the project now that progress seems to be well underway.
       "You know that the streetscape will be on both sides of East Main from the stoplight at the courthouse down to the railroad tracks," said Muldrew, executive director of the Downtown Statesboro Development Authority. "The sidewalks and curb and gutter are being replaced. New lighting fixtures will be installed as well as landscaping. It is going to look phenomenal. I wish that we had the means to do all four Main Streets. But, unfortunately, we don't at this time."
       Statesboro assistant city engineer Jason Boyles acknowledged that the construction has presented some challenges to local merchants and shoppers. "We have tried to provide ramps and such to make it easier for people to get in and out the shops on East Main that are affected, but it is a little bit of an inconvenience, particularly if concrete or something of that nature is being delivered."
       Construction on the streetscape project will cease during the busy Christmas shopping season. "Clearly, the Christmas season is a very important time for retail, and we have to be very sensitive to that. We want our downtown retailers to be affected as little as possible."
       General contractor Jerry Rushing said his company could have the first side of East Main completed by the Christmas season. "It will depend somewhat on the weather and unexpected delays like we had a few weeks ago with some lighting issues. But if everything runs smoothly, we should have one side of the street done."
       Rushing said it is possible to have the entire project completed by mid Spring. "April is a real possibility," he said. "These things never go as smoothly as you may like, but if everything holds steady, we should be able to get it done. The landscaping should be the final touch."
       Local merchant Janis Hope, owner of Bridal Creations on East Main, said it has been somewhat of an inconvenience for her clients, but knows that the new streetscape will be stunning when it is completed.
       "I have had my store downtown for over two decades, and I have learned that progress requires patience," she said. "It is tough right now, but it will be great when it is done."