ALLENTOWN – When the next phase of planned streetscape improvements in Allentown begins, residents will notice a significant change in what they see on Main Street.
Speaking at a recent meeting of the Borough Council, Terry Brown, who chairs the Allentown Shade Tree Commission, said, “We are going to lose 10 large trees on Main Street during the upcoming streetscape project and it is going to be a shock. We eventually will lose more trees on Church Street” during future streetscape improvements.
Mayor Thomas Fritts and members of the council acknowledged Brown’s comments and agreed that the planned work on Main and Church streets will result in the removal of trees that have stood along those thoroughfares for many years.
Brown said the work on sidewalks, specifically, is what will necessitate the removal of some of Allentown’s historic trees.
Late in 2019, the Borough Council awarded a contract for the Historic Streetscape Phase IIA improvements to Captain Construction Inc., South River.
Councilman Robert Strovinsky, who is serving as council president in 2020, previously said Phase IIA will consist of improvements to North Main Street and the Church Street parking lot.
For North Main Street, the work will cover new sections of sidewalk, aprons, ramps that are compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, curbing, the resetting of historic slate curbs and historic brick walkways. There will be new street signs and poles installed.
Strovinsky said the Church Street parking lot will have curbs and a walkway installed from Church Street to the parking area. The tentative timeline is to begin the project in April, with completion in August.
The project is being funded with grants from the New Jersey Department of Transportation ($235,000) and the Monmouth County Planning Department ($138,000), for a total of $373,000 in grant funding. Municipal officials will provide $96,432 from Allentown’s general capital fund.
The borough engineer’s estimate for the contract was $416,973 and the lowest bid
received was from Captain Construction in the amount of $469,432, which is approximately 12% above the engineer’s estimate, according to a resolution the council passed.
Strovinsky said Phase IIB of the streetscape project does not have timeline. He said a grant will address improvements to all of Church Street. The work will cover sidewalks, aprons, ADA ramps and curbs. In addition, historic styled lighting will be installed in the business district of North Main Street and Church Street.