Downtown Facelift

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 26, 2010

The architect’s proposal (above) includes placing power lines underground, installing classic-look street lights and revamping sidewalks. The area is shown at left as it looks today. Photo/art courtesy of Belinda Stewart Architects

Facelift proposed for Batesville Downtown Square

 By John Howell Sr.

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Batesville’s downtown area is set for a facelift following an announcement earlier in the month that the city has received a grant for $20,000. The city leveraged the grant with $29,000 in local funds to improve lighting, sidewalks and other areas, said Frankie Keen of Jimmy G. Gouras Urban Planning Consultants.

“It’s unusual for a city to receive a second grant,” while another grant is active, Keen said.

Gouras is also the consultant which assisted with the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Tubbs Road drainage project announced in September.

Replying to a question from Alderman Bill Dugger about the Tubbs Road project, Mendrop said that Gouras is awaiting completion of the initial environmental clearance.

“You been approved to get the money,” Mendrop said. The review was to be completed by November 18.

In other civic improvements, Batesville will advertise for bids for construction of a facility to house the concession stands and restrooms at Walter L. Trussell Park.

Aldermen authorized City Engineer Blake Mendrop to advertise for construction of a 36’ by 36’ concrete block building with metal roof.

“The lower part will have split-face block to dress it up,” the engineer said. The new structure will replace the existing building currently in use at the park.

Aldermen discussed the specifications briefly. Mayor Jerry Autry asked Mendrop to include “automatic flushers” for the bathrooms. “It’s a lot easier,” the mayor said.

The bid advertisement will be published  and bids will be opened at the Dec. 21 meeting, the same schedule as bids for the remodeling of the city court and code office buildings, Mendrop said.

In other city engineering matters:

• Mendrop recommended that the city and county coordinate plans in anticipation of the proposed bypass construction that will reroute east/west traffic through the city;

• Mendrop’s recommended that the city provide materials and equipment to coordinate with proponents of the construction of a skateboard park. The engineer recommended that the skatepark committee pay for the cost of labor with proceeds from $15,000 grant it received for a skateboard park’s construction.

• Mayor Jerry Autrey requested more lighting for the American Legion Park near the concession stand.

“They’re tearing up the concession stand and all and Robert (City Recreation Director Robert Lightsey) wanted more lighting out there,” Autrey said.

“I still think we need to consider a curfew at these parks,” Alderman Bill Dugger said.