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Plans advance for Streetscape downtown project
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    With Mayor Bill Hatcher out, Mayor Pro-tem Joe Brannen oversaw a relatively uneventful Statesboro City Council meeting earlier this week.
    In the first action item, the council authorized the mayor and city clerk to enter into a contract with the Georgia Department of Transportation to fund the Streetscape project for downtown. Starting at the Main Street intersection by the courthouse and going east to the corner of Savannah and Mulberry, the project will streamline and modernize the look of the downtown sidewalks. With new crosswalks, landscaping and brickwork coupled with an electrical upgrade and lighting, the downtown is expected to be more pedestrian-friendly and better suited to hosting events.
    Heath Seymour, director of the Downtown Statesboro Development Authority, said improving the downtown sidewalks is a quality of life issue.
    “If you are trying to have a retail or restaurant business downtown, people will be much more comfortable walking around,” said Seymour. “Also, when you bring a visitor or prospective business owner into town, the improved downtown puts the entire city and county in a better light and shows that we’re headed in the right direction.”
    Seymour said the DDA and the city hope to start the project around the first of May and when it is completed will next look at improving West Main Street.
    In other business, the council agreed to a contract with DTSI to collect delinquent property taxes. City Clerk Judy McCorkle said letters alerting people to their delinquent status have already gone out and a second letter will go out soon, notifying owners that a lien will be placed on their property if payment is not made.
    The council also voted to spend $55,588 to purchase and install a dessicant dehumidifier system at city hall since the city has been struggling with humidity issues for some time. Council members were told the moisture affects the building’s air quality, and helps create moldy air vents, sweaty pipes that drip and stain ceiling tiles and it even causes wrinkles in books and wreaks havoc on paper running through printers.
    Also, the city decided to table the selection of members to the Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee. Currently, they have 24 individuals who have submitted applications and have expressed interest in serving. Brannen asked each councilman to look over these applications and select the 12. Their lists would then be compared to come up with the final list of 12. If anyone is interested in serving but has yet to submit an application, contact the mayor or one of the councilmen.

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