Crossfield’s Railway Street revitalization project is nearing completion and is rearing to come in under budget, according to a presentation at a regular council meeting July 20.
The proposed budget, coming in at a little more than $10 million, includes upgraded sewer and water mains along Railway Street, along with the beautification and revitalization of the downtown to better serve residents and visitors to the municipality.
According to Mustafa Hashimi, director of infrastructure and operations for the Town of Crossfield, after tendering of the project had been completed and a contractor assigned, a total budget of $10,325,000 was allocated towards the project. A current estimation of funds required for the project is $10,050,286 or $274,713 under budget.
“If there is something [the public] comes across and says, ‘hey, this does not work,’ we’ll take a look at it and we’ll see if there are ways that we can improve it,” he said. “We have the next eight months to monitor the situation... see how it holds up and what some of the issues are.”
Hashimi said any funds left over from the project will be carried over to the 2022 budget to cover any expenditures to monitor both progress and interest in the project in the future.
A recent inspection of the project, according to Hashimi, has indicated some minor adjustments are needed as well as some fine tuning in order to deem the project completed. He said all work is scheduled to be finished by July 30.
Mayor Jo Tennant said she hopes to see a more in-depth breakdown of the budget presented to council in the coming months in order to be as transparent as possible with the public, without disclosing specific unit prices which are considered privileged information.
“I think it’s really important that even if it comes in a dollar under budget that it comes in under budget and that we have clear information out there so that the public has access to it,” she said. “This is a huge project, we want to be as transparent as possible.”
Tennant said a breakdown including final numbers in categories such as water lines, concrete placement, and landscaping would be helpful.
“Even for us, going through it line by line, I want to see something with some fairly broad definitions as well as the overall cost for them," she said.
Hashimi added that a document will be compiled to include broad definitions of each category and a post will be made on social media to get the message to the public.
So far, Tennant said the public’s response has been fairly positive.
“[There has been] lots of positive feedback actually,” she said. “I got information from a family that used to live here and came back here for an event and could not believe how the main street looked."
Despite a lengthy construction period which also featured months of road closures on Railway Street that impacted surrounding businesses, Tenant said there has been positive feedback from local businesses.
“It looks very visually appealing and that’s something that we’ve tried to do for a long time,” Tennant said. “It has been on the wish list of residents for a long time.”
She added it has been reassuring to see residents enjoying the revamped area which includes new picnic tables in front of the donut shop and post office.
“You see more and more people sitting along those benches. It’s really been well used, so it’s good to see,” she said.
A grand opening for Crossfield’s revamped downtown is planned for the future, although a specific date has not yet been announced.
Hashimi said the Town is hoping to “piggyback” off other events in town for the grand opening.
“If we have too many events, it just makes it really difficult for a lot of people to attend,” he said. “We’re trying to get as many people to come to the opening as possible while also ensuring that we’re not taking away from other events such as the farmer’s market.”
Crossfieldians are encouraged to watch the Town’s social media and website for further updates.
With files from Scott Strasser
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