Cherry Street set for upgrade

Lazaro Aleman
ECB Publishing, Inc.

City officials have set their sights on improving the section of Cherry Street between Dogwood and Pearl streets.
The idea, as discussed at a recent Monticello City Council meeting, is to make the area mirror the north side of Dogwood Street, which itself was upgraded a couple of years ago.
City Manager Steve Wingate and Josh Baxley, of Dewberry Engineering, Inc., briefed the council on the proposal on Tuesday evening, May 7.
The two explained that the improvements, which would be done on the east side of the street, would entail making the sidewalk ADA compliant and adding brick pavers, potted trees, benches, bicycle racks, lighting and an irrigation system.
The improvements, they said, would not include the widening of the sidewalk, as the sidewalk was already wide enough.
City officials have long talked about redoing the south side of Dogwood Street to reflect the north side's upgrade. Councilman George Evans, however, argued instead for the upgrade of Cherry Street, in recognition of both the poor condition of the street and the renovation efforts of the Rancho Grande Mexican Restaurant on the corner of Cherry and Pearl streets.
The restaurant not only does a thriving business, but it has been in the process refurbishing a building across the street for about three years. The plan, apparently, is to relocate the restaurant to the new location once the construction is completed.
City officials are also in the process of getting state funding to resurface Pearl Street from Mulberry Street on the west to Railroad Street on the east to further improve th area. The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) earlier this year approved the funding for the engineering and design phase of the resurfacing project, which it will followed with an expected award of $150,000 to $200,000 for the actual resurfacing. The money for the resurfacing is to come from a grant from the Small Cities Outreach Program (SCOP).
“I would say that the resurfacing will probably happen toward the end of this year or very early next year,” Wingate told the council several months ago.