The orange construction cones in Comer could be gone within two months.
Comer’s downtown upgrades are about 80 percent complete, according to city financial officer Steve Sorrells, as most of the remaining work is “above ground” now.
The city has replaced dated waterlines throughout the business district, an upgrade that should enhance circulation throughout town.
“The best thing I can relate it to is a heart transplant,” Sorrells said at the council’s July meeting. “It was a huge operation. It came off pretty good.”
Left on the to-do list is the installation of a 30-foot storm sewer line at the intersection of North Avenue and Center Street.
The city also must finish work on curbing, guttering, sidewalks and pavement overlay — enhancements that are being funded by $700,000 worth of grant money.
When those tasks are complete, Comer will have a better stormwater control system downtown and 3,000 feet of sidewalk aligning its downtown streets.
Comer has until Nov. 15 to finish the project, but Sorrells would be surprised if the remaining jobs to take that long.
Baring unforeseen obstacles, he expects completion by mid-September.
Though the recent work might have inconvenienced some in the downtown district, the upgrade will make a major difference, Sorrells said.
“This was just such a major, major operation that really had to be done,” he said. “It’s just incalculable, the improvements.”
Sorrells noted that crews put in “a lot of hours” and contractors tried not to work during business hours. Though work forced Comer to cutoff water downtown in some instances, Sorrells said everyone in town remained cooperative.
“I just want to make it known that I appreciate it … Even the people that complained, I appreciate their patience with us,” Sorrells said.
Comer could have grant money left over, and will ask its funding agents for permission to apply any surplus money toward the waterline expenses (those improvements are funded by Comer’s SPLOST money).
“I’m hoping they will, but it’s just a hope,” Sorrells said. “They might say that’s outside the scope of your original project.”
If money could be applied there, it would save those SPLOST dollars for other projects.