PRESS RELEASE FORM IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Leeds Announces Downtown Revitalization Project
August 7, 2023 | Leeds, AL- The City of Leeds announces a legacy project that was originally planned to be done in phases to revitalize most of the downtown area and now will be completed in one large venture. Plans are to totally reconstruct Leeds downtown from 7th Street to 9th Street on Parkway Drive and two blocks on 9th Street on either side of the Parkway.
This reconstruct will include new sidewalks with decorative brick pavers, more well-defined landscape areas and new decorative pedestrian lighting. One of the key functions will be ADA compliance for all sidewalks. The current sidewalks are structurally sound, but not all of them are ADA compliant and this project will solve that problem.
“One big deal is that new traffic signals will be installed at 8th and 9th Streets that will include decorative traffic signals on mast arms, teardrop lighting fixtures with fluted poles and decorative clamshell bases that will either be powder coated black or Leeds Greenwave green. This will definitely add an additional element of charm similar to Homewood and Mountain Brook,” shared Keith Strickland, Engineering Manager of Goodwin Mills Cawood. “Other cities that have similar design structure include Huntsville, Sheffield, Tuscaloosa, Sylacauga and Memphis.”
The project will also rebuild parking spaces that will be constructed of concrete instead of asphalt with a raised elevation from the street as well as the curb height of the sidewalks will be raised a little. Sidewalks will include decorative brick pavers, planting islands for trees and flowers as well as ADA ramps. Irrigation and drains will be re-worked. Plantings will be new with trees and flowers. Everything will be brand new or torn out and rebuilt, except the roadway, since the street was just resurfaced last year.
This revitalization is a joint project with the City of Leeds and Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT). A TAP grant was applied for approximately two years ago (Transportation Alternatives Program) and has guidelines, rules, a review process and approval process through ALDOT which takes time. Mayor David Miller was instrumental in obtaining the grant to make this project possible. “We are about to embark on a definitive project for downtown Leeds. It’s something we’ve been working on for the past couple of years that’s about to come to fruition that will completely change the landscape downtown. It’s going to be a massive project to redo all of the sidewalks, all of the lighting, all of the signaling and make everything ADA compliant,” says Miller. “When we’re through, Leeds will have a similar look to cities such as Homewood, Mountain Brook and I think this is going to be a legacy project for the city that will take us into the future and make Leeds look like the first-class place that it is. This is a project that we’ve wanted to be involved in for a long time. It’s something that will not interfere with our businesses. It will allow us to have access throughout the whole project, but when we’re through, it’ll look like the miracle on Parkway. I hope everybody will just hang with us until it’s done, because the end result will be spectacular!”
Plans are to be sensitive to traffic flow during the construction phase. Contractors will be required to maintain access to the businesses affected at all times. Construction will occur on one side of the street at a time with only one block torn out and rebuilt before moving on to the next block. Completing the project in this manner means that no business should be interrupted, provides for continual customer access and minimizes the stress on our downtown businesses that are affected by the construction.
Because the project has expanded from what was originally proposed, the design approval is expected to take another year. The city hopes to bid the project by late 2024 and begin construction which will take approximate one year to complete.
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Photos and graphic courtesy of Goodwin Mills Cawood.