Ceremony celebrates Central Avenue Streetscapes and Pedestrian Crossings

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By The Staff

Employees from Los Alamos County’s Public Works Department, members of the LA Walks group, Los Alamos Commerce and Development Corporation (LACDC) and the public celebrated the completion of the Phase 2 Central Avenue Streetscapes and Pedestrian Crossings project during a special ceremony at the Community Building Thursday.

County Council Vice Chair Robert Gibson offered kudos and congratulations during his remarks to the audience, noting that the project was delivered on time and within budget. Gibson recognized the county’s project team, Kevin Holsapple from the LACDC, the contractors, and LA Walks members – specifically Janie O’Rourke and Wendy Swanson - for all their efforts and contributions.

The project was first discussed back in 2006, and Gibson remarked how exciting it was to see the results two years later and all the work that has been completed from 15th to 20th street.

The County completed phase one of the project in 2005, installing pedestrian crossings near the Smiths Food and Drug Store at Mari Mac plaza on Central Avenue.

With LACDC’s assistance, the county received a MainStreet Grant in April 2007 with a commitment of a two to one match, which at that time was expected to be included as part of the Bradbury Row private developer project near the LA Apartments.

When the Bradbury Row project was placed on hold, Gibson said that the County decided they still wanted to move forward with the project because they felt it was urgently needed in the downtown area.

LA Walks contributed a little more than $17,000 in a grant they applied for and received for the project, and has continued to be an advocate for the project the past two years.

The final cost of the project was some $955,000 for the landscaping, concrete and pedestrian lights, along with some $555,000 for the utility work that was needed along Central Avenue.

The new street lamps were turned on downtown on Wednesday, and have hangers on each pole that will allow decorating with colorful plants in the summertime as part of the ongoing beautification efforts for downtown Los Alamos.

After the ceremony, LA Walks led a festive holiday walk with more than one dozen participants carrying signs that celebrated the project up and down Central Avenue, and everyone enjoyed cocoa and cookies at the community building.