Under reconstruction: Lincoln Street facilities to be finished in June

There’s some massive earth moving underway on Lincoln Street.

The Allen Company of Winchester is working on widening the street and relocating utilities as part of a nearly $2 million urban renewal project the city was awarded a state grant for four years ago.

Daron Stephens, the city’s engineering technician, said he expects the infrastructure part of the project should be completed sometime next month, and then construction of new houses can begin.

The urban renewal project involves relocating residents, razing deteriorated structures and rebuilding on the old sites.

Stephens said that the houses on the west side of the block between Flanagan and Hickman streets were torn down last year, and eight will be built back on those lots. Habitat for Humanity of Madison and Clark Counties will build all but one. Those will replace rental properties that were demolished. The city will build back where the eighth house was on property the resident owned.

Hope Broecker, program manager for Habitat for Humanity locally, said the nonprofit housing group hopes to begin construction by July or August.

“We have a commitment to build one by the end of the year 2021,” she said.

The group plans to build four more in 2022.

There are several houses on the east side of the street that will be replaced as past of the second phase of the project.

“That won’t happen until this grant closes, and we can’t close this grant until Habitat finishes the seven that they’re building. That could be a year from now; it could be five years from now,” Stephens said.

Broecker said the coronavirus pandemic has upended Habitat’s construction model. The ecumenical housing ministry normally uses volunteers to do most of the construction, but to reduce the spread of the respiratory illness, local affiliates have been cautious about having volunteers working together. The group has had to contract some of its work, and it could be that this one will be “some kind of hybrid model” in which contractors do some of the work and volunteers do some of it.

The soaring cost of lumber and other building materials is also a challenge, she mentioned.

For now, the city and its contractor are moving ahead quickly on the facilities part of the project. Stephens said that project, which will cost $650,000 and is being managed by Kriss Lowry & Associates of Corinth, involves widening the street, installing new water lines and storm sewers and new sidewalks, curbs and gutters. It’s possible, he said, that the sidewalks will be done incrementally, after each Habitat house is built, the way they’re done in most residential developments, but that hasn’t yet been decided.

City Manager Mike Flynn said the city applied for the Community Development Block Grant from the Department for Local Government in 2017, and it was approved the same year.

About Randy Patrick

Randy Patrick is a reporter for Bluegrass Newsmedia, which includes The Jessamine Journal. He may be reached at 859-759-0015 or by email at randy.patrick@bluegrassnewsmedia.com.

email author More by Randy