Downtown streetscape project moves forward ahead of schedule

Sunday, March 25, 2012
Kevin Vandiver, an employee of Ford Construction, washes the windows of Galleria in downtown Dyersburg and wins the heart of owner Ann Curtis. Mill Avenue merchants affected by the first leg of sidewalk renovations in Phase II of Main Street Dyersburg's Downtown Revitalization Grant had nothing but praise for the experience on Friday morning.

Not even two months after a meeting for downtown merchants detailed Phase II of Main Street Dyersburg's Downtown Revitalization Grant, employees of Ford Construction are completing the first portion of sidewalk renovations on the merchant side of the historic Courthouse Square.

Renovations kicked off on the corner of East Court Street and South Mill Avenue on Valentine's Day.

On Friday, workers were cleaning up the nearly completed sidewalk along Mill Avenue, addressing the corners of South Mill and West Market Street and beginning demolition of the sidewalks along West Market Street.

"I think it adds a lot of beauty to downtown," said City Drug owner Danny Dedmon. "The superintendent (of the project) is Rodney Underwood. I don't see how a guy could have been more accommodating to the merchants. Every afternoon, he came by and asked us what we thought. I can't praise him or the company any more."

"They were very accommodating," said Galleria owner Ann Curtis, who said she is lucky to have two entrances to her business. "They worked on that portion and we locked that door (and then they moved over and we locked that door). I think it looks nice and they did a beautiful job. You had a go-to person here all the time if you had a question. It was a very positive construction experience."

"I think they have done a wonderful job," said City Drug Certified Pharmacy Technician Melissa Dycus. "It's beautiful and they have been fast."

"They were courteous," said Curtis. "They cleaned up any mess they made. And look! They are cleaning my windows now."

Friday's cleanup efforts included Ford Construc-tion employee Kelvin Vandiver, who washed merchant windows along the Mill Street sidewalk as his co-workers rounded the corner to the next phase of the renovation.

"We are on schedule," said Ford Construction Vice President Sam Baggett. "I think all the merchants have been happy with our crews up there. I haven't heard any problems, yet."

Nearly complete, sidewalks in the first phase of streetscape renovations on the merchant side of Mill Avenue on Dyersburg's historic Courthouse Square invite patrons to enjoy the downtown district.

"The merchants have been wonderful," aid A2H inspector Walter Mullins. "They have, really and truly. This isn't the first one of these I have done. (The merchants) are usually complaining. This one has gone very well. We are supposed to be done by September, and it looks like we will be done in August."

"I think it's been pretty smooth," said Sandra Miller of the law office of Charles Agee Jr. "We didn't have a problem. If we had a client coming in, we just told them to come around to the back door."

"There is no doubt we are very excited about this work," said First Citizens President and CEO Jeff Agee. "The sidewalks are very beautiful and the process has gone very well. I do want to applaud our Chamber and our local government for being visionary enough to think about investing into downtown Dyersburg. Ford Construction has done a wonderful job and I am glad a local firm got the job."

"I was going to call Ford Construction this week and commend them on the job they have done," said Dyer County Clerk Dianne Moore, who currently has barricades in front of her office. "It has been a very good experience. They have kept me informed on what they are doing day by day, on what they found, on what has taken place. ... (Our office is) probably one of the highest traffic areas and it has not caused a problem at all."

Moore is especially impressed with the way the company has anticipated the needs of both her office and her patrons

These pavers, set with a pattern taken from the Dyer County Courthouse, add detail to streetscapes around the historic Courthouse Square. Work on the sidewalk along Mill Avenue is nearly complete, with officials stating the project is ahead of schedule.

"I didn't even ask them for the (little bridges) they put in front of my doors," said Moore. "I just looked up and they were there."

Dyersburg/Dyer County Chamber of Commerce Director of Downtown Development Steve Guttery also had praise for Ford Construction Co.

"It is very obvious they are the right company to do the job," said Guttery. "We have gotten off to an incredible start. Our plan is communication, plain and simple. And Rodney Underwood gets that."

"I think it's a great thing," said Downtown Dyersburg Association President Joe Yates. "For a short period of time there will be a little inconvenience, but when that is over we should have a beautiful downtown. It will bring back the history of downtown and, hopefully, provide a beautiful and attractive place to do business."

"I am very pleased with how smooth the project is going," said Mike Pennington, also of Dyersburg Downtown Association. "I don't know how far ahead of schedule they are, but they are doing great work. It is going to be such an improvement for our downtown. Maybe further upgrades can be done to buildings and make downtown a pleasant experience."

Dedmon said not many residents know that the funds used to renovate the downtown streetscapes would simply go to another community if Dyer County leaders hadn't pursued the grant from TDOT's Transportation Enhancement Program.

Deputy clerks Stephanie Cagle and Amanda Taylor pose on one of two bridges created by Ford Construction to ease access to one of the busiest offices on the square. Dyer County Court Clerk Dianne Moore was pleased by the company's efforts to accommodate patrons to her office.

TEP funds may only be used on pedestrian traffic enhancements. Strict rules govern how funds are requested and what improvements may be made.

"(The renovations are) very pleasing to the eye," said Dedmon. "We were pretty lucky to get it done."

As rain showers on Friday morning cleared, several patrons visited the square and shared their opinions of the new sidewalks and the downtown renovations.

"Oh, they are making it pretty," said Tom Foster of Trenton, who said he comes to the area often to frequent local antique shops. "They are doing themselves proud."

"I think they look so good," said a patron of City Drug. "I am proud of them. I really am. It gives the downtown area just a facelift almost."

"I don't like it," said Dyersburg resident Bobby Waller. "It is the biggest waste of money. I have to come downtown on business, but they have just killed downtown Dyersburg. I've lived here all my life and I would move away if I wasn't married."

Waller is especially worried about the parking spaces lost to flowerbeds.

"The sidewalks are prettier," said Waller. "But they should be narrower. It would be pretty if you had enough parking downtown."

"We have been working on this for a long time," said Yates. "And we sure will be glad to have both sides of the street finished."

"I am very pleased with the Farmers Market and the strides we've made for our River Park," said Pennington. "When this all comes together, Dyersburg is going to have a facelift."

Agee said the updated sidewalks add value to the downtown district, aid recruitment and are a feature that local citizens can be proud of.

"We want to make our downtown beautiful," said Agee. "Our businesses down here are very excited about it. This is just the beginning and we don't need to stop here."

Comments
View 17 comments
Note: The nature of the Internet makes it impractical for our staff to review every comment. Please note that those who post comments on this website may do so using a screen name, which may or may not reflect a website user's actual name. Readers should be careful not to assign comments to real people who may have names similar to screen names. Refrain from obscenity in your comments, and to keep discussions civil, don't say anything in a way your grandmother would be ashamed to read.
  • You can put lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig. Some of the buildings down there are crumbling and need serious work....structurally and electrically. Why not use that money to hire some more city workers to make improvements....the Ford workers already have a job and they aren't hurting for work.

    -- Posted by bacongrease on Sun, Mar 25, 2012, at 1:18 PM
  • Because the sidewalks are paid for with grant money.. If they hired more city workers to re build store fronts, then the tax payers would have to foot the bill.. not happenin!!!

    -- Posted by time2change on Sun, Mar 25, 2012, at 8:42 PM
  • This is the stupidest idea our city has come up with!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The sidewalks make-overs are unnecessary!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!They have taken up the corners making it harder to turn. We are losing business downtown. Why not fix the streets instead of this. NOBODY DOES BUSINESS DOWNTOWN!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Talk about our city leaders being dumb?? They are stupid!!!!!!!! Wasting money instead of fixing what needs fixing. Pitiful...I am telling all my friends who visit to NOT ever think of living here. We laugh at what a joke downtown looks like. We even put it on facebook telling everyone how other parts of the city need fixing but our dumb leaders do this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! HANG YOU HEADS IN SHAME.

    -- Posted by Belle123 on Sun, Mar 25, 2012, at 10:49 PM
  • If you want people downtown, put stores in that people want like a Gamestop and a Starbucks

    -- Posted by swampfox on Mon, Mar 26, 2012, at 1:31 AM
  • Belle123, nobody cares what you think, so crawl back under your rock. All you are is a do nothing complainer.

    Please keep up the good work and continue to find money to help improve downtown Dyersburg. We are so proud that there are those who love this community, and that you continue to work to make it a better place to live.

    Please don't let the very few complainers discourage you, as the majority of this community is proud of your efforts.

    -- Posted by ukwildcats on Mon, Mar 26, 2012, at 8:09 AM
  • You lazy uneducated people will gripe over anything from new sidewalks in downtown to job growth. Why would a company waste their time moving to dyer county? You people will only work just enough hours to keep your welfare benefits.

    -- Posted by Ben Wilson on Mon, Mar 26, 2012, at 8:50 AM
  • outlaw attorney officies from the square!! consolidate county offices into one building. county clerks office big enough for them all.

    -- Posted by closerlook on Mon, Mar 26, 2012, at 2:13 PM
  • Thank you for the sweet comments made to me. It just shows that YOU want the downtown looking good when the streets in some parts of town are horrible, the houses just as bad. The poor and or elderly do not have money to repair own neighborhoods or streets. But you want downtown to look good? There will soon be no restaruant downtown, but we will have lawyers downtown. For the people who have lived in Dyersburg all their lives, hasn't Dyersburg improved Forest St? What about Milltown? What about other neighborhoods?Wow you must be proud. All I saying...fix what needs it more! How come our city officials think Dyersburg is so beautiful that they bring business into town from the north or east and NOT from the south entrance? Southtown sure looks well...

    -- Posted by Belle123 on Mon, Mar 26, 2012, at 6:18 PM
  • Belle123:

    Ok, I tried to stay out of it. but then you just had to make another comment. Lol, they are making improvements to the streets - they just can't repair them all at the same time. And it's pretty obvious that the higher traffic area's should be first. And as far as fixing houses, well come on - really? Houses are and have always been and always will be the HOMEOWNER's responsibility. That's what is wrong with this country now, it's the whole "entitlement" state of mind that some people have, like you obviously.

    Good job to Ford Construction and to Pyramid Electric! Keep up the good work!

    -- Posted by raspberrie on Mon, Mar 26, 2012, at 8:33 PM
  • Houses such as Habitat for Humanity....ever heard of it? Streets that are higher traffic? hahahahahah St. John..Phillips...ahahaha guess nobody travels there. hahahaha only on lake road. I give up.....fix whatever,,,let everyone else suffer.... who cares if the elderly, handicapped or poor need help....by all means fix uptown where nobody goes.... who cares? What about Southtown? who cares about these people JUST AS LONG AS DOWNTOWN gets new sidewalks... hahahahahaha. go get 'em raspberrie! you too ukwildcats! I give up...y'all do know best.

    -- Posted by Belle123 on Mon, Mar 26, 2012, at 9:17 PM
  • This money was from a GRANT and if you read the article, Strict rules govern how funds are requested and WHAT IMPROVEMENTS MAY BE MADE. From this you should be able to see they can't use the money for just any part of town they want and if you people would get yourselves out of Dyersburg every once in a while you would see that many counties are taking advantage of this grant money and renovating their downtowns. I commend the local leaders for doing what is within their abilities to improve Dyer County.

    -- Posted by dyercountyresident2012 on Tue, Mar 27, 2012, at 8:38 AM
  • First, and foremost, good job Ford Construction and all subcontractors involved with this project. I for one am glad to see a local company overseeing this project.

    Second, it is a direct insult towards business owners who operate downtown or choose to invest in downtown. Comments about only lawyers being downtown is silly because where else will they locate since the majority of their work is conducted within the courthouse!

    Third, grant monies come with strings attached and they are project specific. If the federal government decides to earmark monies for road improvements, then it's the state's responsibility to go after the funds and allocate the monies to state and local projects...and it doesn't always make sense how this is done! There are very, very few grants available for actual construction or renovations of PRIVATELY owned buildings.

    Finally, thank you to the following for remaining positive towards the improvement of our community and also having the ability to see that progress happens in stages, through partnerships, and holding true to the vision of a better tomorrow: dchsrules03, ukwildcats, raspberrie, dyercountyresident2012, and Ben Wilson.

    Last, but not least, for those of you who seem to be against progress, make an effort to educate yourself on the topic at hand before you make a bigger fool of yourself than what you already are, and if you're simply that disguisted with this community, pack your bags and leave! Truthfully, the sooner you leave, the faster our progress will be.

    -- Posted by metrist on Tue, Mar 27, 2012, at 11:08 AM
  • Metrist you are a typical left wing nut job. Just like nut job raspberrie. Wasting tax money on ridiculous projects is exactly what is wrong with this country. Downtown Dyersburg is dead. Fancy sidewalks will not change anything. If shop owners want fancy sidewalks let them pay for them out of their own pockets - not mine.

    True market forces will determine where businesses locate. Wasting taxpayers money on pointless projects will not change a thing.

    -- Posted by bulldog84 on Wed, Mar 28, 2012, at 8:32 PM
  • Annnnd again, I will repeat myself because we have some slow listeners. As I stated on a previous article about the Downtown Revitalization: The money came from a FEDERAL grant. The money would have been awarded to someone, I for one am glad it was awarded to us. And that is thanks to the hard work of alot of people. And as pointed out by some intelligent people posting on this article, you can't just do whatever you want with the money. There are guidelines you have to follow. If you have a problem with the Grant that we applied for and won, take it up with your president, lol. And further more Habitat for Humanity doesn't come fix your house after they practicaly give it to you, that is the homeowner's responsibility. I am all for helping a DESERVING person who is just down on their luck at no fault of their own. But I have to say that THE WORLD DOES NOT OWE YOU ANYTHING. As for "Milltown", what do you expect - everyone to come in and rebuild the run down houses and pave the streets and plant flowers??? Really?? I might promote having a job fair in that community, but that would be the extint of my help there.

    -- Posted by raspberrie on Thu, Mar 29, 2012, at 12:43 AM
  • why not just fix the streets in this town? Sidewalks are good for people, IF they were used. WE need streets without potholes and dips big enough to be a skate ramp... Just fix the streets first is all I want.

    -- Posted by Belle123 on Thu, Mar 29, 2012, at 1:27 AM
  • UGGGHHH, they are fixing the streets and bridges. They are currently working on the bridges between Dyersburg and Newbern and are going to pave next. They can't do them ALL at the same time! And your complaints need to be lodged to the Department of Transportation Office for this area because the streets are their responsibility. NOT the city or the county government. They can only request that the TDOT does a certain repair job, they can't force them.

    -- Posted by raspberrie on Sat, Mar 31, 2012, at 7:30 PM
  • And I just looked up a contact person for you there. His name is Jeff Jones. And they are responsible for district 42 which is compiled of 4 counties. The office information is as follows:

    District 42

    11118 State Route 211 N

    Newbern, TN 38059

    Phone: (731) 627.2503

    Fax: (731) 627.9939

    Please feel free to complain to them. I am sure they have the time to listen.

    -- Posted by raspberrie on Sat, Mar 31, 2012, at 7:36 PM
Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: