Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Obsolete Utility Lines Removed From Clayton’s Main Street

There is a clearer view of the sky and architectural beauty in downtown Clayton since a layer of utility lines was removed recently from utility poles.

As a result of system upgrades Clayton Electric Department workers removed obsolete overhead utility lines on East Main Street from the Wagoner House at 121 E Main Street to Clayton Furniture Outlet at 425 E Main Street.

According to Ronnie Wood, Director of the Town of Clayton Electric Department, the lines were bypassed and no longer needed. He said, “They were some older lines that were not being used any longer and, as part of the Town’s efforts to improve the appearance of downtown, we were able to remove them.”

The remaining lines, he added, are telephone and cable lines. There are hopes that, in time, those lines may be rerouted also and downtown can be free of overhead lines entirely.

The Town of Clayton has been in the process of upgrading electrical service in the downtown area since early 2006. The upgrade consisted of the extension of the 23 KV facilities and the removal of the 4 KV systems which included removing the substation facility on Moore Street. In the process, certain power poles and lines were consolidated and rerouted so they would be less noticeable.

The Downtown Clayton Vision Statement developed in the spring, suggests underground utility lines by 2012. According to Downtown Development Coordinator, Bruce Naegelen, it will be a very expensive project, but the DDA is working toward that goal. In the meantime, Naegelen said, the DDA is improving the ground level appearance of downtown. He said, “Just putting utility lines underground does not bring more visitors and customers to downtown, but improving the appearance of downtown Clayton at the pedestrian level, will be a more effective way to bring more people to downtown.”

The Downtown Development Association (DDA) is doing this by working with property owners to upgrade downtown building facades, working with business owners to develop attractive and inviting window displays and by developing easy access parking from Robertson Street to Smith Street, informational and directional signage, crosswalks and other pedestrian-friendly improvements.

Naegelen reminds residents that revitalization is an incremental process, “Lots of small steps lead to realizing the vision and progress being made.”

For more information on downtown Clayton and the DDA, please contact Bruce Naegelen at 553-1545 or bnaegelen@townofclaytonnc.org. Or DDA Chair Joyce Blackley at 553-6813.

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