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West Georgia Avenue project to begin soon

Long due for a redo — West Georgia Avenue, seen in the photo above, bustles with hundreds of revelers, diners and shoppers on weekends and during Downtown DeLand's many festivals. The tiny thruway connects South Woodland Boulevard and South Florida Avenue, making it a popular shortcut for vehicles and pedestrians alike. The traffic has rendered the pavement cracked and worn, however. A project to beautify the small street will begin the week of Jan. 15 and take between 90 and 120 days, according to DeLand c

Long due for a redo — West Georgia Avenue, seen in the photo above, bustles with hundreds of revelers, diners and shoppers on weekends and during Downtown DeLand's many festivals. The tiny thruway connects South Woodland Boulevard and South Florida Avenue, making it a popular shortcut for vehicles and pedestrians alike. The traffic has rendered the pavement cracked and worn, however. A project to beautify the small street will begin the week of Jan. 15 and take between 90 and 120 days, according to DeLand city officials.

BEACON PHOTO/ANTHONY DeFEO

Construction is set to begin during the week of Jan. 15 to transform a small-but-bustling Downtown DeLand street into an attractive corridor for traffic and pedestrians.

The work will entail removing and replacing West Georgia Avenue's roadway and sidewalks, improving drainage on the street, installing removable bollards, and adding landscaping elements.

Bollards are protective metal poles; on Georgia Avenue, they will be used to close the street to vehicles during the Friday-evening Artisan Alley Growers and Makers Market and other events that take place in the neighborhood.

The streetscape project also will add new streetlights with decorative poles that will be installed by Duke Energy, and new trash bins.

The roadway will be surfaced with concrete pavers, while the sidewalks will be constructed of concrete with bands of decorative pavers.

The project, estimated to cost $616,539, is being funded mostly by the Downtown Community Redevelopment Agency, with some funds also from the city’s stormwater fund and local-option gas-tax revenue.

In August 2017, the CRA board awarded the project to the sole bidder, Gomez Construction Co. of Winter Park. Gomez also constructed the streetscape on the 100 block of West New York Avenue in Downtown DeLand.

Georgia Avenue, which sits in the shadow of its larger neighbors like Woodland Boulevard and New York Avenue, has increasingly become a destination in recent years for locals and visitors alike.

Now an integral part of the city’s SoNY — short for “South of New York” — district, the diminutive street hosts Persimmon Hollow Brewing Co., Cafe DaVinci, BakeChop and Neighbors Artisan Taqueria, to name a few popular businesses.

An extension of the popular weekly Artisan Alley Growers and Makers Market stretches onto the avenue each Friday, as well.

Business owners along the street have expressed concern about the project disrupting traffic to their respective enterprises, but the city hopes to keep any such impact as minimal as possible by doing the work in phases.

During the first phase, a new stormwater pipeline will be constructed from the west side of Florida Avenue, and new drainage inlets will be installed.

During that phase, Florida Avenue will be closed at the Georgia Avenue intersection for about two days, with detours marked. Traffic on Georgia Avenue will be allowed to flow westbound only.

During a second phase, sidewalks and remaining pavement on the north half of Georgia Avenue will be removed and reconstructed. Pedestrian access to businesses will be maintained on the south side of the street, with temporary crossings to businesses on the north side.

Work on the south half of the street will follow during a third phase, during which essential vehicular traffic will be allowed to travel westbound only and pedestrian access to businesses will be maintained on the north side of the street.

Finally, pavers and other finishing touches will be installed during a final phase.

Construction is expected to take between 90 and 120 days.

— Anthony DeFeo, anthony@beacononlinenews.com

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