Abingtons business district facelift begins

More than 12 years after the town first sought state money to revitalize North Abington, work has begun in earnest to make the business district more attractive to store owners and consumers.
Construction began Monday on the $1.7 million, four-month project, funded through a grant from the state transportation department. The work promises a refreshed but traditional look for the area.

It will be great to have a little facelift in the neighborhood, said interim Town Administrator Dori R. Jamieson.

The grant aims to make the area more desirable for businesses to locate and prosper in a quaint, small-town setting.

For more than a decade, Abington had tried unsuccessfully to secure state money for the project. That was until last year, when the state announced it would fund the work through the Business District Revitalization Project grant.

Jamieson said although the state is providing funding, the town has full control over the project and decision making.

There will be decisions made. It is in full force and we will be moving ahead, Jamieson said.

According to the project brochure, surfaces will be repaved with new bituminous concrete on North Avenue, Harrison Avenue, Railroad Street and sections of Adams and Brighton streets.

The project includes improvements for pedestrian safety as well, such as thermoplastic road markings to delineate the stop lines and crosswalks, as well as reflective road signs.

Workers will install new traffic signals at the intersection of routes 139 and 58, and they will improve walkways throughout the neighborhood to entice potential consumers.

New concrete walks will span the heart of the town center while all of the existing walkways will be reconstructed to comply with provisions of the federal Americans With Disabilities Act.

While on-street parking will still be allowed, new off-street parking is planned along the Arnold Park Playground. A small parking lot also will be added off Brighton Street, and new spaces will be paved along the MBTA property off Railroad Street.

Other project highlights call for decorative benches and trash receptacles, street trees and plantings, flag poles, solar powered lighting, traffic island improvements, job creation and a town clock.

North Abington is the center of our business district. We hope that the project benefits the businesses. Its going to improve that part of town, selectmen Chairman Thomas J. Corbett said.

Work this week did come at a temporary cost, however, tying up traffic on North Avenue as crews used heavy machines to mill the roadway.

Still, Country Kitchen restaurant owner Peter Morrell isnt about to complain.

I hope it will benefit the whole center, he said. I am very happy but still apprehensive about the next four months.
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