Broad Street redesign moving forward

  • Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Newcomers to Georgetown may be entering the city via Broad Street in the future; plans to redevelop the road as the gateway to the city are moving forward.

At the Aug. 21, City Council meeting, the body voted 6 to 1 that Walsh Krowka and Associates be hired to create a “phase one conceptual design” of the street improvements.

The city published a request for proposal (RFQ) for the project in late June.

The Walsh Krowka and Associates proposal was one of four, and the least expensive of the group; it quoted the city $19,800 for the conceptual design and $10,300 for a topographical survey to accompany it.

The design will be the first step in making Broad Street the official “entry corridor” of the city, which was originally outlined in a charrette of the city completed several years ago.

City Administrator Chris Carter said that $300,000 has been allocated for the entire project from the hospitality tax budget.

He said the project is “priority” for the city now because the South Carolina Department of Transportation has scheduled to repave Broad Street next fall.

It would be ideal for the city to make any necessary plans and changes before the road is repaved, he said.

Councilwoman Peggy Wayne was the first to speak up on the topic.

“I don’t see the need of changing Broad Street to be the main entrance of the city,” she said. “That’s a lot of money. Yes, the road needs paving, but the sidewalks are ok and the landscaping looks ok. … I just don’t think it should be the main entrance, that’s my personal opinion.”

Councilwoman Carol Jayroe disagreed: “I recommend we move forward with this, it was designed this way in the charrette.”

Some councilmembers expressed concern about the parking and neighborhood institutions, like churches, but Carter reassured them that doing a survey with community stakeholders, such as the council, residents and churches, will take place before the planning starts.

“The public input sessions are great,” said Councilman Ed Kimbrough. “This is the natural entrance into the city.

It’s the widest street from Church to Front, and that goes back to the original design of the city. … We owe it to the community for the long-term development of the city to at least explore it.”

Councilman Brendan Barber said he agreed with the project, especially if it will mean adding a traffic light to the intersection of Church and Broad streets.

“I think this will benefit everyone,” he said.

The council passed the motion 6 to 1, with Wayne voting against.

A discussion with Walsh Krowka and Associates about the conceptual design is the first item on the agenda for the City Council Workshop this Thursday, Aug. 28. The meeting will begin at City Hall at 4 p.m.

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