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This park is one of the recent improvement projects in the downtown area

City to receive dollars for downtown

By Michael Butler

The City of Tallassee has received a Transportation Alternatives Program (TAPS) grant that will go toward downtown improvements. There will be $520,000 provided in federal funds with the city required to match $205,000.

"We will be doing $725,000 of work for only $205,000," Tallassee mayor Johnny Hammock said. "It's good that they award it this time of year before we start our fiscal year, so we can look at line items and dial them back to make up the $205,000."

Hammock said the grant is primarily for streetscaping.

"You know how bad the roads are on Sistrunk. It's going to be repaving, redoing the sidewalks, the right-of-ways, plants - probably some crepe myrtles. I'm not sure exactly what we're going to do, whether we'll do brick sidewalks, designer sidewalks or regular sidewalks. It's going to be a lot of work."

Downtown Centerpiece
The Hotel Talisi served as the anchor for downtown commerce for decades but has been closed since 2009.

With upgrades planned, Hammock sees an opportunity to improve infrasturcture in the downtown district as well.

Residents line for a parade on Barnett Boulevard downtown in the 1960s.

"While we're tearing up sidewalks and the road, we're going to go ahead and replace gas lines, water lines, sewer lines and lay fiber. It's going to be great with the theater open now, the new high school eventually, tie in some new sidewalks. When you go through that part of town, it's going to look really nice."

There are layers of asphalt on Sistrunk. Hammock believes there may be cobblestone underneath that could be uncovered.

"I went up to Fayette when I first became mayor. They've gotten several of these grants. They redid their downtown. There are several options. We have to see what's the best option for our dollar. This is going to be a big project. Hopefully, we'll have it done before my term's up in 2020."

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