The ongoing transformation of the 1700 block of Winchester Avenue has entered another phase.
This week city officials broke ground on the StreetScape project that will take place on the south side of block over the coming weeks.
Contractors will replace the sidewalk along Winchester Avenue as well as the west side of 17th Street to the alley, said City Manager Steve Corbitt. Along with new concrete, the sidewalk will feature inlaid brick at intersections.
The block will also have underground utilities and be outfitted with the same black vintage-looking light poles, posts, and benches as are featured in the 1300 and 1400 blocks of Winchester Avenue. Those blocks were the first to receive StreetScape upgrades earlier this decade.
Overhead utilities will be placed underground and some green space will be added to the block in the are between the Sear’s building and the Henry Clay House, said Corbitt.
“A cluster of trees,” he said will be placed between those two buildings so as not to block their historic facades.
Parking along 17th Street will also be angled, said Corbitt. In addition, next summer hanging flower baskets will be erected along the block as they were this summer along other blocks of Winchester Avenue.
Work is expected to be completed within the next 30 to 60 days, ahead of plans by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet to pave U.S. 23 along Winchester. That work is expected to take place later this summer.
Corbitt said the upgrades to the southern side of the 1700 block are the only scheduled StreetScape project so far this year.
“I’d love to do the other side, but I think the next one we do is the 1200 block,” said Corbitt. He said although there are no definite plans for that project it is “definitely in the mix,” but construction will “depend on revenue.”
The StreetScape upgrades coincide with the ongoing renovations of the former Sear’s building to house Kings Daughter’s Home Medical Equipment, which is noticeably changing the appearance of the block.
Kings Daughters Medical Center announced in early May that the business would be relocating to downtown Ashland from its 35th Street location in the former Heck’s building. The business, with 19 employees, is expected to open in late August.
KDMC spokesman Tom Dearing said the move is part of an ongoing effort by hospital officials to move its operations closer to campus. The Heck’s building will most likely be sold, he said.
CARRIE STAMBAUGH can be reached at (606) 326-2653 or by firstname.lastname@example.org