Street landscaping added to Church Street this spring was so well received, city council members say, the project will be continued to the opposite side of the Square.
It also will provide shade on hot days and during summer festivals.
The landscaping added to the “ambience” of the Square, Mayor Steve Tumlin said, and moving on to Powder Springs Street between South Park Square and Waverly Way is a “natural step.”
“We started doing things like the Art Walk, and people weren’t walking down Church Street,” Tumlin said. “It wasn’t very inviting. They would turn and either go north or west on the Square.”
Johnny Fulmer, who runs the weekend farmers market on the Square, said merchants along Church Street are pleased more foot traffic is coming their way.
“I think it certainly helps the appearance of the street, the ambience; I’m all for anything that will help Powder Springs like it helped Church Street,” Fulmer said.
Outgoing Councilman Johnny Sinclair hopes the Powder Springs Street project has the same impact on the southwest side of the Square.
“There’s several restaurants down Powder Springs Street and anything that we can do to create an atmosphere where people want to dine outdoors … we want to do,” Sinclair said.
Though Sinclair said the stretch of road will become more inviting, motorists will have four fewer parking spaces at their disposal to accommodate the trees.
“That’s something we take very seriously but I think the benefits so outweigh losing those four parking spaces,” Sinclair said, adding that a parking deck is available just a few blocks away.
More streets to get trees
City Engineer Jim Wilgus estimates the project will cost between $120,000 and $130,000, less than the $183,000 the city spent on Church Street. Both projects are being funded by special purpose local option sales tax.
Designs haven’t been completed, so there’s no set cost, Wilgus said.
It’s part of an ongoing street improvement project that will include Mill, Cherokee and Atlanta streets along with Whitlock Avenue.
The city has a limited window in which it can do construction downtown, beginning in January and lasting until just before the Taste of Marietta, which typically takes place at the end of April.
“It’s an unofficial kind of an agreement because anytime we do construction in the downtown it affects all of the businesses,” Wilgus said.
Powder Springs Street will be completed in that time frame, but other roads will have to wait until next year before they’ll have a chance to see more greenery.
Other roads are more difficult to tackle, Tumlin said.
“Powder Springs and Mill Street and Whitlock, we do not have the room so they’ll be more of a challenge,” Tumlin said.
Major sprucing of Whitlock coming
About $4 million in improvements to Whitlock Avenue are included in the $68 million redevelopment bond voters passed in November that otherwise targets dilapidated apartment complexes on Franklin Road.
When City Council approved lining more roads with foliage in late August, it also discussed turning the Square into a one-way roundabout, but the idea was met with little enthusiasm.
Tumlin said the roundabout would have to be part of a bigger project addressing traffic flow throughout the Square.
Nothing has been done about the roundabout since the council had its discussion, but Tumlin said it’s possible the idea will come up again.
“I’d love to see it happen someday,” Tumlin said.