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Trees might fall victim in Shepherstown streetscape project

January 09, 2008|By DAVE McMILLION

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. - Shepherdstown officials are firming up details on a more than $1 million streetscape project for the downtown area and said they hope it could be completed by this time next year.

Hank Willard, chairman of a town streetscape committee, highlighted parts of the plan during a Shepherdstown Town Council meeting Tuesday night.

Drawing on historical photographs which show trees planted at the edges of streets downtown, the plan involves planting trees and other landscaping along German Street.

Some sketches of the plan show groupings of trees at intersections along German Street.

Willard said he has been told by experts that the trees currently along German Street were not good choices for the town, were not planted properly and do not have a bright future.

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Crumbling sidewalks have been a big concern in town and the project will involve replacing sections of sidewalk that need replacement, Willard said. Sections of sidewalk that are about two feet higher than German Street and considered dangerous will also be redesigned, town officials said.

Red bricks that currently make up some of the sidewalks will be reused if possible and paver crosswalks will be installed along German Street in an attempt to slow traffic, according to Willard.

New streetlights in town will be the same fixtures that were used to renovate a train station in Shepherdstown except poles for the lights will be different, Willard said.

Despite the attempt to improve safety and appearance of the downtown area, the effort has drawn criticism from some residents.

Local resident Terry Tucker said during Tuesday's meeting that she objects to current trees downtown being dug up.

"They're living and with us already," Tucker said.

Tucker said she also has concerns about the new design for downtown, saying it could make Shepherdstown look "too perfect."

The $1.1 million project is being funded through a combination of federal Transportation Enhancement Grant funding and slot machine revenue from Charles Town Races & Slots, Willard said.

Construction could begin in late spring or early summer, Willard said.

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