By Joshua Lamb
CHERRY VALLEY – Cherry Valley’s downtown will get a new look in the coming months by way of a “Streetscape Project.” The project will involve improvements to parking, will increase ADA accessibility of walkways, and will renovate the landscape.
The planned changes will extend along East State Street between Walnut Street and Cherry Street. Estimates suggest the renovation will cost nearly $1 million.
The “Streetscape Project” dominated the discussion at the Village Board of Trustees meeting on Monday, March 14.
City engineer Dennis McMullen presented detailed information about the ongoing planning of the project. He stated that the project is set to begin advertising for bids in early April and to begin construction by late May. McMullen said that he expects approximately four bids on the project.
He also said that he hopes to see the project completed by mid-September of this year.
The board discussed many aspects of the “Streetscape Project” at the meeting, including placement of the new trees that are to be planted in the downtown area.
McMullen said that the new trees could not be planted in the same spots as the old trees. This is due to the fact that planting trees in the same spots would require the removal of the root systems from the old trees. Such removals would present extreme difficulty and could jeopardize the underground gas lines.
As a solution, McMullen recommended placing the new trees at the street corners of the downtown area.
Village President Jim Claeyssen voiced his concern about placing trees at street corners, asking if such placements would impede visibility for drivers. However, McMullen said that the trees would not be as low to the ground as to cause a visibility problem.
Along with the “Streetscape Project,” a new parking lot will be built at 202 Genoa St. in Cherry Valley. The new lot will include 32 standard parking stalls and two handicap accessible stalls.
However, the question of precisely when this new parking lot will be completed remains unclear. McMullen stated that he would like to see the Genoa Street lot “worked on concurrently” with the “Streetscape Project,” reasoning that the village would save money if all of the paving was completed during the same time period.
Trustee Jeff Fustin took issue with this idea, stating that he felt the Genoa Street lot should be completed before the “Streetscape Project” begins. Fustin said that he had been under the impression that the parking lot would be finished first so that there would be extra parking during the renovation in the “Streetscape Project.”
Trustee Sally Hollembeak agreed with Fustin’s view. McMullen responded that a plan of this sort would require the two projects to be bid separately, thereby increasing the overall cost of both projects.
Claeyssen acknowledged the importance of completing both projects in an economical manner.
However, Claeyssen also said that he wanted to emphasize the importance of finishing the Genoa Street lot as soon as possible in order to avoid any parking shortages downtown.
Fustin suggested that if it was necessary to postpone the paving of the Genoa Street lot, perhaps it would be possible to allow people to simply park on the gravel. This idea seemed to satisfy all those concerned and McMullen agreed to work it into his plans.

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