The Union Recorder

Local News

June 20, 2014

Downtown tunnel awaits enhancements

MILLEDGEVILLE — The South Wayne Street pedestrian tunnel connecting off-street parking to downtown Milledgeville merchants will soon transform.

Once roof leaks are corrected, both the street entrance and interior of the tunnel will make the passage a landmark.

The Downtown Development Authority (DDA) is purchasing a blue awning to treat the tunnel entrance as a storefront thereby generating interest.

DDA just received a BOOST grant to cover nearly all of the expense.

Milledgeville Main Street/DDA director Carlee Schulte said the location will carry “The Tunnel” nickname. Additional lighting is part of the project also.

“Keeping it simple and aesthetically pleasing is a goal,” Schulte said.

At the moment, City Public Works Supervisor Fancy Robinson said roof repairs are the first priority before any aesthetics change. Gutter leaks will be fixed for a $5,200 contract price.

This tunnel work ties in the city's efforts to implement improvements enhancing downtown's beauty.

Working with the Carl Vinson Institute of Government, the Georgia Municipal Association identified and selected member cities with specific downtown or town center needs last year.

The city of Milledgeville was selected as one of three communities for a pilot 10-week Downtown Renaissance Fellows Program in summer 2013.

Quynh Pham, an undergraduate landscape architecture student from the University of Georgia's College of Environment & Design, spent the summer working directly with Schulte and Robinson providing technical and design services.

Pham delivered an extensive booklet suggesting possible city entranceway projects among specific downtown block possibilities.

Schulte wished Pham could have stayed longer to shell out more great ideas.

“The outside perspective was a positive,” the DDA director said.

The city is taking a budget-conscious approach to each.

“We have big ideas and plans we'll implement as the budget allows,” Robinson said.

City Hall's façade received a needed facelift recently.

Power pole banners on the North Columbia Street Downtown entrance corridor will spice up that area. Currently, these 2-by-3 foot banners are just in downtown blocks.

Schulte is sticking with a blue theme.

Public Works employees enjoy implementing these special projects. Robinson cited the tunnel's interior work as a way for them to take ownership.

“It becomes a project they can brag about,” Robinson said.

Aesthetic maintenance and improvements are economic development keys.

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