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Downtown Project Committee stages inaugural meeting

By ROSS FLINT - rflint@shelbynews.com

The Shelbyville City Council Downtown Project Committee discussed the impending road construction on East Washington Street during its first meeting Tuesday morning.

City Engineer Matt House was unable to definitively say when construction would begin but the first block of construction must be completed by Oct. 1. The first step will be digging the sanitary line, which will “probably take a couple weeks,” he said.

The committee – Joanne Bowen, Brian Asher and Nathan Willis (all members of the city council) – discussed availability for access to businesses along the street and House said there are higher traffic rules to keep store fronts open on the first block of construction.

“We’ve made it very clear to the contractors that maintenance of traffic is important for vehicles and pedestrians,” Mayor Tom DeBaun said.

He added that Franklin and Jackson streets will still be available during the construction.

Beaty Construction was chosen to complete the construction after turning in the second-lowest bid.

The lowest bid was submitted by Olco Inc., out of Batesville. That company had a “significantly lower bid,” DeBaun said, but several concerns about the bid and an interview that city officials conducted, including not specifying the correct concrete mixture and finding out that the contractor who would be overseeing the work would not be available several days a week because of other contracting jobs, caused the city to look at the next-lowest bid.

DeBaun suggested posting updates of the construction online to keep the public informed.

He also mentioned that the location for this year’s Wine Fest and Taste of Shelby County is unknown because of the construction that will be taking place downtown.

This year’s Taste of Shelby County is scheduled to go from 6 to 10 p.m. on June 7. Wine Fest is scheduled to run from 5:30 to 11:30 p.m. on June 21. Ten wineries have committed to the event.