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Streetscape project taking shape in Shepherdstown

October 20, 2008|By DAVE MCMILLION

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. -- Shepherdstown's streetscape project is under way.

An expansive project costing more than $1 million involves replacing deteriorating sidewalks along German Street, planting new trees and extending curbs at the intersections of Church, King and Princess streets along German Street to allow for the new landscaping, town officials said.

"Things are going well," said Shepherdstown Recorder Lance Dom, who also worked on the project when he was mayor.

Sections of the sidewalk along German Street have buckled over the years, causing hazardous conditions. There are other areas where sidewalks are nothing but rubble, town officials have said.

To improve the sidewalks, town officials started plans for a new streetscape along German Street, the main thoroughfare in the town's business district.

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Sections of sidewalk that are currently brick will remain that way. Areas that are concrete will maintain that appearance, Dom said. About 85 percent of the sidewalks' current materials will be reused in the project, Dom said Sunday.

The project also involves removing old trees on German Street, after town officials were told by experts that the trees were not good choices for the town and did not have a bright future.

Despite some objections to cutting down the trees, Dom said the town had an expert guiding them on the town's tree plan and Dom felt confident that the town had "dotted all our I's and crossed all our T's."

Curbs will be extended farther into German Street at Church, King and Princess streets to allow for the new trees, which will include American elms, Dom said.

"They're going to be huge trees," Dom said.

The project started in mid-September and could be completed about June, said Mayor Jim Auxer.

Curb extension work has started at the intersection of Church and German streets.

Officials involved in the project are considering taking a break from the project during the holidays to help alleviate any inconvenience to downtown businesses, Auxer said.

Elizabeth Gallery, owner of the Stone Soup Bistro along German Street, said she likes the project's scope.

"I think change is good. I'm looking forward to a new Shepherdstown," Gallery said.

Gallery said she likes the idea of streetscape work stopping during the holidays, especially since the tough economy is already affecting businesses.

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