newberryobserver.com

Community Hall grounds plans finalized

By Elyssa Parnell eparnell@civitasmedia.com

July 28, 2014

NEWBERRY — Finalized plans have now been made for the grounds in front of Community Hall, according to Matt DeWitt, assistant city manager for the City of Newberry.


DeWitt said they are in the process of securing some early 1900s brick pavers to complete the revitalized Community Hall square.


The bricks were needed to fill in small areas where pavers have become missing or broken-up over time. The brick pavers were located in Ocala, Fla. — made at the same Peerless, Augusta factory used to pave Newberry’s streets in the same era.


“Mac Bartley, our director of Public Works was told the pavers we were in search of were located at a now closed garden materials store and we were just lucky enough to be able to get in contact with the owner,” DeWitt said. “Mr. Bartley’s source was correct. She did indeed have the pavers we needed, and was looking to unload them since the store was no longer in operation.”


The city has coordinated the delivery of the pavers, which should arrive by the middle of the week.


DeWitt said the city has many of these brick pavers on hand from earlier projects downtown, and that these are being cleaned and reused first.


The delivery of the reclaimed pavers will allow the city to preserve the historic integrity of the Community Hall grounds.


A brick mason will be coming in to set the historic brick pavers, DeWitt said, along with the assistance of other city employees.


“We plan to have the project completed before the end of August,” DeWitt said.


DeWitt said they were pleased to have located the original 1900s brick pavers because he believes it will help in maintaining the historical significance of the downtown square.


“If new brick pavers were placed alongside the originals, you would really be able to tell a difference and it would somewhat detract from the historic nature of the square,” he said.


The city’s Architectural and Review Board has approved the new design, DeWitt said.


With recent updates downtown including Memorial Park upgrades, street trees and planters added down Main Street to soften the environment, benches to help welcome visitors, and the implementation of a facade program that’s helped spruce up some buildings, DeWitt said it was brought to their attention that the grounds surrounding Community Hall needed a bit more consideration.


The restored square is one of many elements going into this project. The landscaping around the entire Community Hall grounds will be reworked, irrigation, new flag poles will be installed, addition of some decorative bollards near the roads edge, and new pedestrian ramps will also be included in the upgrades being pursued.


Although the grounds will remain the property of Newberry County, the city has worked out an agreement with the county so that they will be able to maintain the grounds moving forward.