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Friday, Apr. 29, 2016

Campaign for U.S. 40 project underway

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Although the group is practically in its infancy, Brazil Main Street, Inc., is stretching its legs.

Recently, the committee drafted a letter and sent it to Brazil Mayor Ann Bradshaw and members of the Brazil Common Council.

The letter referenced the upcoming repaving projected for United States 40 through Brazil.

The committee, made up mostly of downtown merchants, expressed concerns in the letter regarding a handful of items.

Brazil Main Street, Inc., President Zach Chambers said the intention of the letter was to provide "one voice being heard by city leaders."

"What we hope to accomplish is to speak as a unified voice for downtown merchants and individuals involved with Brazil Main Street who are concerned about some of the aspects of the upcoming project," Chambers said. "While certainly, upon completion, it will be a great asset to the downtown -- overhauled streets, improved sidewalks and hopefully updated sewer and water lines. The two-year transition, however, will be challenging to downtown business."

Chambers said the committee is worried about downtown businesses and how the project would affect them.

"The mission and vision of Brazil Main Street is the enhancement of the downtown area and the loss of parking will be a detriment to the area we are committed to preserving," he said.

The drafted letter proposed the city look into alternate traffic patterns among other items.

In addition, the committee expressed concerned about a proposed 24-inch grass strip in the blueprints for the project. The strip has been designed in the new downtown sidewalks.

In the letter, the committee asked who would maintain the strip. In addition, the group suggested the city look into possibly maintaining the brick pavers underneath the asphalt surface of U.S. 40.

The letter specifically points to the city of Marshall, Ill., which recently upgraded city sidewalks including pavers.

Bradshaw told The Times the city does own some parking lots downtown and plans to utilize those lots once the project is underway.

"The city owns some parking lots that could be an alternative for parking," she said.

She added changing the grass strip proposal would have to go through the Indiana Department of Transportation, the lead organization on the project. Bradshaw said changes have been made to the project, which was initially drafted in 1996.

"It is being worked on," Bradshaw said. "People are concerned. But we will continue to work with INDOT to ensure merchants along National Avenue don't lose their business."

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It would be wonderful to save something of the brick pavers. Even if its just the "gutter" strip along the sides due to safety reasons. AND to repair those bricks. In fact, I think all the brick streets in the old part of town should be restored and the blacktop removed.

My family goes pretty far back in Brazil - one of the stories my Dad tells is watching the "brick man" lay bricks on Main Street (40/National). I wouldn't be surprised if he skipped school to watch! He said the man was a marvel. He was so fast and laid them one at a time through manual labor. Laid the entire street. He was a boy then - maybe there was more than one man but I know he just watched one guy laying the road.

I also remember driving on those bricks many, many years later - partially covered, other streets more exposed and being so bumped around and shocked at the condition - but by then I was just a California kid and use to freeways.

The pavers/brick streets are part of the charm - should you want to save the charm of the city. Perhaps even recreate that charm. It seems to me there are other towns in the country that have saved their cobble-stoned streets.

I'm not just an expat I own a home in Brazil in the old part of town and am a native by birth. My grandfather's home still stands in Brazil as well.

I'm voting for the brick!

-- Posted by PlumbBoyer on Mon, May 17, 2010, at 11:50 AM

I like nostalgia in its proper place. A strip of brick in homage to days gone by in the sidewalk is one thing, brick streets is just asking for more potholes and maintenance costs. Every joint is a potential entering place for water to settle, freeze, expand, and displace the brick. That is one of the reasons why brick-paved streets have been replaced the nation over with blacktop or concrete.

There are several cities that have cobble-stoned streets, the farther south you go in the nation, the more you will find them.

It would seem to follow that the maintenance of the proposed grass strip would be the same as snow removal in the winter time, the merchant is responsible for the area in front of his place of business. If that be the case, I have to disagree with the use of it. It may look pretty to passersby, but it does little for a business except raise costs.

Parking has always been an issue for downtown business. It is the reason malls were developed. Look at Forest Park Shopping center. The square footage of the parking is easily double that of the retail space. The only way to accomplish that in a downtown setting is a high-rise parking facility as they have at Circle Center in Indianapolis. I do not think that we are quite ready for that in Brazil. I do some business downtown, in a city this size a person must, most of the time there is parking available within about the same walking distance you would find in a busy strip mall. I don't recall ever having to circle a block more than once to find relatively convenient parking here in Brazil.

-- Posted by Leo L. Southworth on Mon, May 17, 2010, at 1:05 PM

And the expert on everything has spoken. Thank you Leo L. Southworth.

-- Posted by I. M. Lee Thall, Esq. on Mon, May 17, 2010, at 1:19 PM


-- Posted by Tracy Jones on Mon, May 17, 2010, at 4:00 PM

I would like to see Jackson St. incorporated into the plan as US 40 going East, Main Street going West. Tie the two together on Alabama and relieve the downtown congestion.

Why should we settle for some out-of-towners design for "our Hometown"?

-- Posted by reddevil on Mon, May 17, 2010, at 5:41 PM

I wonder how lee Thall would like it if no matter the subject, no matter the comment, no matter what took place he / she got dogged the way he / she dogs Leo Southworth. Must be in law enforcement somehow, and not tolerant of others opinions.

-- Posted by Ombudsman on Tue, May 18, 2010, at 8:15 AM

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