THOMASVILLE — After nearly two years of public input, the West Jackson Streetscape project in The Bottom District of downtown Thomasville will begin on Monday, April 29. The project represents a public engagement process that began in 2017 and involved numerous residents coming together to contribute their ideas for the development of the streetscape plan for this important downtown area.

“It is very exciting to see the final plan that was shaped by public input finally become a reality,” said April Norton, Main Street and Business Development Director. “We spent many, many months engaging with our merchants and community members and actively listening to their ideas and concerns. This final plan reflects the desires of our community for this historic part of our downtown.”

Construction will begin on Monday, April 29 at the intersection of Stevens and West Jackson Streets.

“The first phase of construction at this intersection will require a detour around the immediate construction area,” said Norton. “One of the most important elements of the project is maintaining access to our West Jackson Street businesses during construction. While the first phase construction area will require a detour for vehicular traffic, these businesses will all be open next week and throughout all phases of construction. In addition, one-way access to on- street parking will also be in place next week, giving customers front door access to the businesses in the 200 block of West Jackson Street.”

Norton said that the intersection should be reopened within three to four weeks. After this phase is completed, work will begin in the 200 block of West Jackson Street.

“Not only will our West Jackson Street businesses be open throughout construction, but we will also continue to welcome visitors to our First Friday events at The Ritz Amphitheater, without interruption,” she said. “While we may have various detours in place during the different construction phases, we have more than one hundred parking spaces available a short walk from our West Jackson Street businesses.”

The City of Thomasville has identified all available parking areas in the downtown area with new wayfinding signage to help customers and visitors more easily locate where to park.

“Within a one minute walk to the West Jackson Street area, there is access to many additional parking areas along Jefferson Street, Madison Street, Remington Avenue and other areas of West Jackson Street. Just look for the newly installed blue parking signs to find parking convenient to all of our downtown businesses,” Norton said.

Construction of The Bottom District’s West Jackson Streetscape project is expected to be completed in November, just in time for the busy holiday shopping season.

The project addresses five areas that were crucial to the final plan.

“Our community wanted improved access to parking, increased safety for people, and improved sidewalks,” said Sherri Nix, public outreach manager. “They also wanted the final plan to preserve the character of The Bottom District and to help fill empty storefronts.”

The final plan will address each point, with new pedestrian crossings and improved sidewalks with better accessibility. The plan will include new landscaping, underground utilities and infrastructure improvement. Nix is excited about the plans to honor the history of the area.

“The Bottom District is so rich in history, particularly that of African-American businesses owners,” she said. “The final plan will include a history walk and commemorative wall that will pay homage to the distinctive character and history of this part of downtown.”

More information, including current detour maps and available parking locations, about the West Jackson Streetscape project in The Bottom District of downtown Thomasville is available on the City’s website, Thomasville.org, and also on Thomasvillega.com.