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Springfield gets ready for next streetscape phase
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Work on Springfield’s long-awaited streetscape project is continuing, and its next phase could start later this year.

City council members approved a modification to a contract with Keck and Wood and also approved a memorandum of understanding with the state Department of Transportation for a $300,000 federal transportation enhancement grant. The grant will go toward the second phase of the streetscape project along Laurel Street.

"We’re very pleased with the work they’ve done," Springfield City Manager Brett Bennett said of Keck and Wood.

The federal grant will be reserved for work along the east side of Laurel and will help with utility relocation. Part of the streetscape includes relocating utilities into underground conduits.

But even if things went without a hiccup, it still would take a year to a year-and-a-half to complete the project, Bennett said.

"That’s why the intent is to separate the two," Bennett said. "We’ll do one locally to get it going quickly."

The state grant comes with several stipulations that could take time to resolve. Funding one side of the streetscape locally means there are no other strings for the city to abide by.

"Funded locally, it takes out a lot of the hoops," Bennett said.

Once the second phase is completed, the streetscape will be completed along Laurel Street from Second Street to Madison Street.

Council member Charles Hinely said he got a lot of feedback about the streetscape after last week’s Savannah College of Art and Design presentation on the city’s potential historic district.

"We’ve gotten a lot of comments about it, and most of them have been positive," he said. "It’s done what we thought it might. Once we got it started, people are getting more enthusiastic about seeing it. And we’ve got the money to do it."

For the first phase, nearly all the utilities have been removed from the power poles except for the cable television lines, and those should be taken down and placed underground as well, Bennett said.

"Hopefully, next week, Georgia Power will come in and pull the poles," he said.

Planning takes as long as design for the project, he added, and it could be about two or three months before the city has bid documents for the side of the street to be funded by the city.

"I say be late summer, we should be ready to bid it out," Bennett said. "We’re pushing just as fast as we can."