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Town Green beginning to take shape

Infrastructure nearly complete, surfaces being installed

Posted: November 26, 2010 11:06 a.m.
Updated: November 29, 2010 5:00 a.m.
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Camden's Town Green begins to take shape in a picture taken from the city clock tower by City Manager Assistant Jake Broom for the project's blog.

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When the city of Camden broke ground in the East Back Lot for the city’s transformative Town Green project Oct. 29, few outside city officials and contractors knew things would move so swiftly.

Phase I infrastructure improvements have been completed in a short eight weeks. Now, new Phase II surfaces are being installed. Landscaping will encompass Phase III of the project.

Despite the seeming swiftness, Camden Downtown Manager Wade Luther said everything is right on schedule. Luther has been responsible for communicating the Town Green’s progress to the public through both a blog and Facebook page.

On Nov. 15, Luther wrote that the majority of underground work was complete, relocating sanitary sewer lines and gas lines and installing new stormwater and underground utility lines. That same day, he uploaded a picture to the city’s Town Green blog of shipments of blue stone that had arrived. Luther also said crews were prepping the site for the installation of the central Green’s wall.

Two days later, there were pictures of the first wall’s base laid out and being checked for alignment. Two days after that, the first sections of stone curbing had been set and nearly two full sections of the outer wall could be seen from the city’s clock tower.

“Above ground work is slowly beginning to take shape,” Luther posted Nov. 19. “Two of the four stone curbs have been set in concrete, forming the outer shell of the Town Green. Cars will park along this outer wall.”

Earlier this month, Luther said Phase I work helped replace some very aging infrastructure.

“Some stormwater lines were (more than) 100 years old and many stormwater and sewer lines ran underneath buildings, resulting in safety issues for property owners and tenants. The new stormwater system … should result in a reduction of stormwater runoff and improve(d) drainage for those surrounding the Camden Town Green and for businesses along the Rutledge Street Corridor,” said Luther.

Phase II, he said, is only expected to last about two weeks, with crews pouring concrete dividers on the future Green’s southern edge.

Things appeared to move into even higher gear Tuesday. That day, Luther noted that two additional work crews were on site to complete the underground phase before the Thanksgiving holiday even as early surface work continued.

“For those of you who venture out to the project site on a daily basis, you can see enormous progress over the past two weeks,” said Luther.

He also noted that the project is disrupting things in the area.

“There have been some partial disruptions to access of the Rutledge Street alleyway and Wachovia and NBSC parking,” Luther wrote on the Town Green blog, “but these areas should be open over the holidays to keep impact to holiday shopping to a minimum.”

Luther said the progress on the stone curbing has been “tremendous.”

“The granite curbing is almost complete. Concrete curbing pours began today along the eastern edge of the project area,” Luther wrote.

In an e-mail exchange, Luther said new concrete driveways will be poured at the end of next week and warned that people should stay out of that area.

“The curing process takes 28 days for each section that is completed,” said Luther. “Concrete integrity will be tested in 3-, 7- and 10-day intervals; however, no portion of the new concrete drives (is) projected to be open until the entire project is completed due to safety issues. We wouldn’t want to have traffic traversing a still highly active construction zone. It also protects the integrity of the aesthetic quality of the finished product.”

On the Town Green blog, Luther noted that any unauthorized activity within the construction zone could jeopardize the integrity of the concrete and its finish.

In his e-mail, Luther agreed things are progressing “very quickly” and that two extra crews have been brought in from Charleston.

“Right now, everything is right on target and, in my opinion, moving at a pace far greater than expected considering the scope and magnitude of stormwater improvements that were made within the Town Green and Rutledge Street,” said Luther.

He said additional infrastructure improvements include undergrounding of cable TV, phone and electric lines to bring them up to today’s standards.

“These improvements will give us the opportunity to compete with other communities in various arenas from business recruitment and retention, residential development and relocations and tourism-based travel and marketing,” Luther said.

And when can passerby expect to see trees installed? While Luther said he doesn’t have a crystal ball, the city does have a preliminary staging schedule but declined to give a specific date.

“We have to make adjustments in that schedule based on other factors, such as inclement weather, the changing of the seasons, our current progress and most importantly having the proper irrigation system standards approved and installed by our project team,” he said.

Luther has previously said the Town Green should be completed by either February or March.

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