Facelift On Its Way For Guymon Main Street

The concrete is cracked at the curbs, and in some instances has been reduced to rubble. Trails are more visible in some areas than an actual sidewalk. Guymon’s Main Street needs a facelift - and a facelift is on its way.Beginning in December of 2008, a process was set in motion within Guymon’s Community Development Department in an effort to improve the Main Street area. At 5 p.m. Thursday evening, directly before Guymon’s City Council meeting at 219 NW Fourth Street, the final design of the Sidewalk and Median Improvements project from U.S. Highway 54 to the railroad on South Main Street will be unveiled to the public.Community Development Specialist Miranda Gilbert has been heavily involved in the project, funded by a grant from the Oklahoma Department of Transportation, since her employment began with Community Development three years ago. Vicki Ayres-McCune Community Development Director wrote the initial grant ultimately approved by ODOT.The project is described in the grant award as located “on U.S. Highway 64, U.S. Highway 412, State Highway 3, State Highway 136 and Guymon Main Street. The improvements will take place from Highway 64 where it heads north from Highway 54. The project is a two-and-a-half block area extending to the railroad tracks.” The grand total of the grant awarded was $500,000.“The application date was December of 2008,” Gilbert said. “We have the one-cent sales tax for capital improvements, but we need so much done with infrastructure - water, new pipe, streets repaved, streets that were still dirt. The one-cent sales tax takes care of all of that already. “This is considered a beautification project,” she explained. “It needs to be done, but it is not a priority for us to use the one-cent sales tax. So, we received the grant from ODOT and we have had donations to match the grant, so that is how we will get this done.” Although medians are mentioned in the project title, Gilbert said the public was not receptive to the idea during the planning process, so the median possibilities have been removed from the concept. “Originally, we had medians in the design,” she said. “The majority of the public was against having the design, so those were thrown out of the design. The medians are not in the final design.” The process of bringing the project to the point of Thursday’s upcoming unveiling was rather extensive, Gilbert said. “I had to develop a list of consultants and solicit them to come up with this design,” she said. “From there, we got a screening committee and they chose the designers. They interviewed each one. That is how we got to where we are today. “We have got this design and have had two different meetings on just the actual design selected,” she added. “This grant is paid for by ODOT, so anything and everything we want to do has to go through them. This stretch of road is actually highway, even though we have the loop, it is still highway - it is governed by ODOT. That is the process that has taken about a year now.” The project, Gilbert said, will not only benefit Guymon’s pedestrians, it will bring the area up to code specified by the American Disabilities Act. “Now everything will be ADA compliant,” she said. “We have a lot of pedestrians that will walk from here all the way to the dollar store, to United or Walmart and you can see the trails along this area where people walk a lot, so this will help them.“We are going to have benches put in so that people can rest when it is over 100 degrees out and they have several bags of groceries - it gets hot,” she continued. “Right now, there is nothing there. We will have some trash receptacles, the kind with the covers, so the wind isn’t blowing the trash. We have room for landscaping also, so we will be putting some kind of greenery in the area to make it look a lot better. We will also be planting trees in the area.”The project, Gilbert said, will most likely bring more tourists into the Main Street area. “When travelers are driving down the highway, we want them to be able to see, when stopped at that light or crossing through, this green way that we have been calling ‘The Gateway to Guymon,’” she said. “The idea, as we go in phases, is to get them to turn down onto Main and shop. Also, it will improve the reputation of Guymon, and just make it look nicer.” Although the project is well on its way to completion, a very important and possibly time consuming phase in the project is right around the corner - the bid and construction phase. With local construction caught at a very busy time of year, this process could take some time.“It still has to go out to bid,” Gilbert said. “This design is in the 90 percent stage, we will have the meeting Thursday and it has already been approved by ODOT. “In reality, sometimes you don’t even get the bid back in the 30-day window,” she said. “So, I would love it to be in 60 days we begin, but that is not realistic. Whoever gets the bid, we are really at their mercy. We want to go local, so it really depends on that. I would love to say it will be done by this summer or this fall, that is what we want, but it really depends.” Initially, approximately two dozen streetlights were expected to be placed in the area of the project, Gilbert said. However, Tri-County Electric has agreed to purchase streetlights all the way through 12th Street in order to maintain continuity with the new look. “The lights are the same model Beaver has,” she said. “This area of the project was the initial scope only for lights, but Tri-County is paying for the lights. The City of Guymon pays for the usage. The cost to upgrade isn’t going to cost us anything - Tri-County gets the bill. However, the usage fee is going to upped to around a dollar a light. “Tri-County has a budget to do this, they love doing this for the town,” she added. “They have decided, if the city wanted to, to not just do this area, but they recommended we put the lights in all the way through 12th Street. That they will be able to get the same model - by the time we get that part of town, that model may no longer be available.” Gilbert is proud the project is well on its way to fruition. She believes the project will bring not only aesthetic value to the Main Street area, but tax dollars as well.“We are looking for that visual appeal that will make downtown look beautiful,” she concluded. “It is a beautification project, it is for pedestrians, the entire town - it is really a good project.”