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Downtown work underway

By Michael Butler

The time is nigh. All the talk of work to be done in downtown Tallassee is now coming together.

Work has begun on a $2.4 million project. Access will be limited in the areas near Sistrunk and James Streets.

"The city has been working very hard trying to find proper funding," Jeff Harrison, branch manager of CDG Engineers and Associates said earlier this year. "About four years ago, the city secured some funding from the Department of Transportation through their TAP Program to be able to do the improvements downtown.

"We're calling it a streetscape project. We're redoing the sidewalks, putting in new lighting and repaving the streets once it's all complete"

Harrison spoke of the potential deterrent for business.

"The last thing we want to do is cause any issue for the existing retail businesses. Part of the contract is to make sure that each individual property has access 24/7 in their stores. It's going to be almost like a wooden sidewalk that will be placed from the roadway to their facility while the work is in front of their business."

Newly appointed mayor Sarah Hill spoke of the Hotel Talisi. Once the anchor among businesses in the downtown district, the 1928 structure is to be torn down.

"The hotel has had more deterioration. I think another floor has collapsed," she stated. "We're having different demolition companies come out and look at that. James is blocked off right now."

Harrison explained that what is currently happening could lead to future improvements.

"The Department of Transportation does not want it to be a one and done program," he said. "Their goal is to let this be phase one and spread this out to where it's a multi-phase project."