Despite uncontrollable delays, Main Street sidewalk project nearly complete

PICKENS — Pickens Mayor David Owens knows that the recent renovations in the downtown area have not gone as smoothly as expected, but feels sure after the project’s completion all will be pleased with the results.
The project, which includes the beautification of West Main Street from Ann Street to Catherine Street includes new wider sidewalks, planter-style bulb outs and sewer upgrades. Part of the funding project came from $75,000 in C-fund money for the Pickens County. The “C” Fund Program is a statewide program for improving roads. The fund for the program comes from a tax on each gallon of gas and diesel fuel.
According to Owens, last year the county’s municipalities were contacted and told that they would be receiving $75,000 for safety improvements. The city elected to take on the project along West Main Street. After engineers designed the project, figures came in around $140,000. The city then decided to use money received from a pair of Palmetto Project grants and Hospitality Tax money to cover the added cost the beautification of Main Street.
The project was slated to begin around the beginning of November last year, but was delayed by getting necessary approval and did not begin until around Thanksgiving.
“The plan was to have the south side of Main Street done in time for this year’s Christmas Parade,” Owens said. “And you will remember we had not had rain in a long time and it came a heavy rain after crews had taken up the sidewalks.”
The initial part of the project was from Pendleton Street to Garvin Street. According to Owens, this first phase went smoothly and was completed in early December.
The second phase was the south side of Main Street from Garvin Street to Catherine Street.
“We knew we were going to have some problems there with sewer lines. We wanted to make sure the lines were rebuilt to avoid having to take back up the sidewalks later,” Owens said.
The contractor came up with the idea of taking out half the sidewalks at a time during the construction phase to allow customers of businesses the ability to enter stores.
During this phase, some property owners along the street decided to redo their sewer line inside the building also.
Once the work began on the sewer, the city then discovered that the storm drain located under the old sidewalks was disintegrating and had to be replaced.
“Those issues, coupled with weather problems with rain and snow caused the delays on the south side of the street,” Owens said.
Currently, the south side is complete with the exception of finishing the bulb outs with landscaping and trees. The north side of the street has been started and should be completed by early March, Owens said.
The project has also found a way to increase the parking spaces down West Main, bringing three new spots on the south side and a least one spot on the north side.
“I just want everyone to know that the delays in the project were not anything to do with the contractors or anything the city of Pickens was not on top of. It was unforeseen work that had to been done and weather conditions,” Owens said.