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Streetscape finds receptive, accepting audience
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Work on Springfields long-awaited streetscape project is under way, and city council members say they are receiving favorable feedback. - photo by Photo by Pat Donahue

Springfield’s long-awaited streetscape project is garnering a great deal of positive feedback for city council members.

The streetscape project, which will include placing utilities underground and putting in new sidewalks along a stretch of Laurel Street, is under way. The first part of the streetscape, part of a state Department of Transportation TE grant, or transportation enhancement, will run from First Street to Second Street.

The city got the TE grant of $300,000 nearly four years ago, Mayor pro tem Jeff Ambrose said. But getting the state to put the money to use didn’t come easily.

“It took them two years to get any money to it,” Ambrose said. “We’ve been cutting through the red tape with DOT and other folks to finally get it going.”

Council members said the comments they’ve gotten from Springfield residents have been glowing.

“At least we’re getting some citizens noticing we’re trying,” said council member Gary Weitman.

Added council member Butch Kieffer: “There’s a lot of folks commenting on it that we’re trying to do something positive. I think this is something really good.”

City Manager Brett Bennett presented council members with a letter from Springfield resident Traci Sumner, who praised the city for keeping its “quaintness and character” as part of its “downtown makeover.”

Work on the east side of Laurel Street is ongoing and could be finished by the end of next week. After that, work on the sidewalks and curbs on the western side of Laurel Street will commence.

The western side will take a little longer to complete, in order to get the power conduits underground.

“It’s looking good,” Ambrose said. “We’ll love it when those power poles start popping up.”