NEW: MAIN STREET PROJECT COULD BEGIN EARLY NEXT MONTH
JEREMY WALTNER – PUBLISHER
It’s now likely just a matter of weeks before work begins on Freeman’s long-awaited rebuild of Main Street.
While he couldn’t say for sure, engineer Paul Korn, whose company Sayre Associates has worked on the reconstruction project from the ground up, told The Courier on Monday that activity could be underway by the first week of May.
“They’re anxious to get started as soon as possible,” Korn said of those who are tasked with working on the $5 million project, including general contractor Reede Construction who will be involved in a pre-construction meeting with Sayre Associates and the city of Freeman likely sometime next week. “We’ll know more then.”
That meeting will include a specific construction timeline for the buildout, which includes Fifth Street north to the North County Road and five blocks of adjacent side streets.
Korn said demolition will begin at Railway and work its way through the heart of the downtown business district south to Fifth Street. The side streets are also included in the first phase of the project in which the southern portion is to be completed by early August.
Once the demo is done, utility work will begin through the downtown corridor, which will be followed by the reconstruction of the roadway and then the sidewalks. Pedestrian traffic will be maintained to all storefronts throughout the process, with parking available on side streets.
Temporary signage and fencing will help direct both foot and automobile traffic.
“That was a requirement of the plans — to maintain pedestrian traffic to all storefronts,” said Korn, who noted that sidewalks will remain in place until the very last minute. “Until the (new) sidewalk is actually being poured, there will be access to the (front entrances) the entire time.”
Once the business district and side street stretches are completed, workers will turn their attention to demo, utility work and reconstruction from Railway north to the fire hall — a second phase that is to be completed by November. Korn is eager to see the project get underway.
“It’s been a long process working on the design and bringing everything together,” he said. “This is when the real work starts; I’m excited to see it completed and excited that Freeman will have a Main Street that they can really be proud of.”