The City of Liberty has taken the first step in a proposed brick sidewalk project for the downtown district. Currently a topographic survey is underway of four city blocks from Milam St. to Main St. and from the railroad tracks to Trinity Street. This area includes Liberty City Hall, Liberty County Courthouse, Jax Hamburgers, First Liberty National Bank, Tarver Abstract and the Liberty Opry.
The first step in the project includes surveys of 19 sidewalk sections (the sidewalk in front of Jax Hamburgers was previously surveyed) and engineering, which is estimated to take about six months. This phase is being funded by the Liberty Community Development Corporation.
“Once they finish the engineering, then they will give us a cost of installing the sidewalks,” said Chris Jarmon, assistant city manager, whose responsibilities include economic and community development. “The sidewalks have to be ADA (Americans With Disabilities Act) compliant and the sidewalks on Main Street are within Texas Department of Transportation’s right-of-way, so we have to work through those issues.”
Initially, the City was looking at a new sidewalk project for the 400 block of Main Street, but the bids came back too high for just one sidewalk, Jarmon said.
“If we do all of these sidewalks or at least half of them, then we might get a better price per sidewalk,” he said. “So it’s not clear right now what the cost would be per block.”
Once the surveying and engineering work is complete, the next step is to seek bids for construction. Then the City Council and LCDC will have to decide if the project is feasible based on those bids.
If the city council or LCDC decides to fund the sidewalk project, Jarmon said that construction could start as early as the end of summer 2021. As for how long the project will take, Jarmon said the timeline will be determined by the contractor based on the scope of work outlined in the engineering.
The proposed sidewalk will be comprised of red bricks, similar to sidewalks seen in Georgetown, Texas.
“Downtown Georgetown is the model we are going with. We want to have that type of sidewalk with fiberglass lamps for lighting,” Jarmon said. “We really like the Liberty Square and the history here. That’s part of the reason we are hoping to do this sidewalk project. We think it can enhance the square and all its potential.”