GREENFIELD — The Potts Ditch construction project has been held up once again as city officials wait on a final federal permit before giving the contractor the green light.
City engineer Karla Vincent said Indianapolis-based Renascent Construction has been given a partial notice to proceed; that means the company may take steps such as demolishing a set of houses to make way for relocation of the watershed, but actual work on the project can’t start until the permit comes through.
“They’ll hopefully be able to complete the (permit) review quickly,” Vincent said. “That’s why it’s kind of up in the air.”
Joshua Campbell, general manager of Renascent, estimated it could be 30 days before the homes the city purchased along Fourth Street will be torn down, but if the federal permit comes through before then, workers will break ground at the opposite end of the project, and the work will occur simultaneously.
Campbell said he is hopeful work will begin by the end of the month. Construction was originally scheduled to begin in June.
Meanwhile, city officials are working to prepare residents for the 15-month project, which will alter traffic patterns downtown.
A cookout and community information session held this week provided a chance for area residents to meet with contractors and look over drawings of the plans, which detailed each phase of the project and the corresponding road closures.
Those closures will also be detailed at www.pottsditch.com, a website set up to keep residents informed.
Karen Maslek, who works at her mother’s downtown floral shop, Andree’s Florist, was glad for the opportunity this week to look over the project renderings, which showed the construction will have minimal impact on the shop just south of Main Street.
“I was kind of concerned,” she said. “Now, I’m very relieved.”
Jim Parker, owner of Greenfield Automotive, on the other hand, is feeling anxious about the start of the project. He took an opportunity at the community information session to share some of his concerns about how the street closures will affect his business.
When North Street is closed, only two one-way streets will be available to traffic coming to the shop, Parker said.
“That’s going to basically kill us,” said Parker, who asked whether the city would be willing to temporarily allow two-way traffic in the area. “It’s going to be very, very difficult.”
Mayor Chuck Fewell said the city will do its best to address citizens’ and business owners’ concerns, but he admitted the project will be an inconvenience.
Fewell said he plans to go door to door before each stage of the project to check with neighbors and answer any questions they might have.
His main concern is identifying those who are homebound or have medical issues, so emergency responders can note their addresses, Fewell said.
The mayor is also having weekly breakfast meetings at Carol’s Cornerstone Cafe on East Main Street. The meetings will be held at 7:30 a.m. each Tuesday once the project starts and will provide citizens a chance to meet with city officials about the project.
“We’ll be glad to tell them the progression so they can plan their life,” Fewell said. “We can’t give enough information, and we’re trying to give as much as we can.”
Reconstruction, including curbs, gutters and sidewalks will take place on Spring, North, East, Grant and Fourth streets and portions of South, Main, State and Walnut streets as well as select alleys inside the project area.
Residents in the area of the construction can visit the project website to keep track of periodic street closures. The site is www.pottsditch.com.