Clarkston breaks ground on streetscape project

Twelve years after receiving federal funding for a streetscape project, Clarkston broke ground for the project.

Clarkston elected officials, both past and present, held a groundbreaking ceremony May 4 at Milam Park to officially start its $6.5 million streetscape project. In 2006, Clarkston became eligible to receive up to $4 million in federal funds, administered through the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC). City Manager Keith Barker said Clarkston City Council authorized city staff to begin the process to acquire the matching funds for the project in 2011.

“This has been a long process and a long time coming,” Barker said. “We are beginning the project now, which will have a tremendous and dramatic impact on the city of Clarkston.”

The project is expected to be completed in 18 months. Once completed, the city will have wider sidewalks, newly paved streets, landscaping, street lighting, gateway amenities, a pedestrian bridge, underground utilities along Market Street, new storm water infrastructure, new MARTA bus shelters and bus pull outs, street arbors and other amenities that are expected to transform many of the city’s thoroughfares.

Barker said the project scope will include East Ponce de Leon from the I-285 interchange down to Market Street, Market Street from North Indian Creek to Rowland Street, Rowland Street to Norman Road and Norman Road to the city limits (Milam Park).

Mayor Ted Terry said with the streetscape project and the special-purpose local-option sales tax (SPLOST) project, Clarkston is taking on a 20- or 30-year backlog in infrastructure improvements.

The $6.5 million streetscape project is expected to be completed in 18 months. Photos by Carla Parker

“People want to walk and bike. They want to be safe from their house to school [or] to work, to the grocery store, to the post office, to downtown, to the coffee shop and to Milam Park,” he said. “And what we’re seeing. The streetscape project with the SPLOST project are literally connecting one part of Clarkston [Milam Park] to downtown, to the interstate, to the post office and to every single corner. That’s really important.”

Terry said he wants residents to feel safe when walking or biking and mentioned recent pedestrian fatalities that happened just outside the city limits. In a February incident, eight-year-old Tluang Tha Men was killed when a vehicle hit her and her mother while attempting to cross the street at the intersection of Rays Road and Central Drive, which is a mile from Milam Park.

“It’s hard to hear [about pedestrian deaths] on the news, and you hear from concerned citizens about what are we doing to make sure that our children and our families are safe when they’re out walking or bicycling,” Terry said. “I think what we can say here today with this groundbreaking is that as the next two years of pavement and sidewalks gets ripped up and new infrastructure is laid, that we’ll be looking at the safest that Clarkston, I think, has ever been for our residents and visitors to walk and bike and to feel safe in their own community.”

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