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Coming soon to downtown Albion: $50K in street-scape improvements

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 9 July 2013 at 12:00 am

These bike racks, which will be painted blue, highlight Albion’s canal heritage. Design by DERO Bike Rack Company.

ALBION – This fall a series of street-scape improvements will be added to downtown Albion, with new tugboat-themed bike racks, potted trees and planters, benches painted as murals, a historical marker and interpretive panel about the downtown historic district.

The street signs in the historic district will be swapped out with signs that are blue and white and say “Historic Albion” on the top. The Main Street clock will have a sandstone base and one sandstone bench will be added to a downtown sidewalk. That bench is planned to stay out year-round.

The Albion Town Board on Monday backed the list of projects and agreed to front the money for the $50,000 in improvements. The state is paying for the projects as part of a $477,000 Main Street grant awarded to the community in December 2011.

The bulk of the grant is matching funds for building projects. The state also approved the $50,000 for Albion’s street-scape, money that doesn’t require a local match. However, the town will pay for the projects and then be reimbursed by the state.

Katelin Olson, the Albion Main Street Alliance interim executive director, wrote the grant and has been administering the funding. The list of projects, with their final designs, needs to be submitted to state officials by the end of next week. It will likely take four to six weeks for state review. Then the community can begin installing some of the improvements, likely between September and November.

I’ve been the chairman of the street-scape subcommittee, which formed about 18 months ago. We’ve been trying to build on our canal and sandstone heritage with these new additions, while also adding trees and flowers to the downtown landscape.