Streetscape Project

Sparta Downtown Streetscape & Waterline Project

2018 is an exciting year for Sparta! We are working on the strategic renovation of our downtown corridor through the Sparta Downtown Streetscape & Waterline Project. This important initiative includes updates and improvements which will strengthen our infrastructure, support our economic development goals, and benefit our town for generations to come.

We look forward to working with our citizens, local businesses, and project partners to ensure the initiative runs as smoothly as possible with minimal disruption to day-to-day downtown activities. This website, which will be updated through the year, is designed to keep you informed of our plans and progress.

Project Overview

The Sparta Downtown Streetscape & Waterline Project will include:

  • Road Resurfacing: Milling and asphalt resurfacing will extend from Trojan Avenue to Grandview Drive. (This is a scheduled routine Department of Transportation maintenance project.)
  • Waterline Replacement: The current 80-year-old waterline will be replaced from Trojan Avenue to Grandview Drive (about 3,500 linear feet).
  • Overhead Utility Conversion: Electric, telephone, and cable utilities will be shifted from overhead to underground lines along the downtown corridor from Doughton Street to near Halsey Drug Company.
  • Streetscape Construction: Updates and improvements to the downtown corridor from Doughton Street to Cheek Street will focus on the priorities listed below. (See “Construction Information” for a list of anticipated updates and improvements.)
    • Pedestrian Safety
    • Creating a Destination
    • Walkability
    • Emergency Vehicle Access
    • Parking

Project Updates

August 22, 2019
Notice to Proceed
Click the link to see the "Notice to Proceed" signed by Mayor Wes Brinegar on August 22, 2019. - Click here opens in a new window
August 22, 2019
July 29, 2019
Click the link to read the latest information about the Sparta Downtown Streetscape & Waterline Project - Details here opens in a new window
July 29, 2019
February 19, 2018
Click the link to the “The Mayor & Town Manager Show”. Listen to the entire episode for updates and information on the Sparta Downtown Streetscape & Waterline Project - Details here opens in a new window
February 19, 2018
December 12, 2018
Click the link to the “The Mayor & Town Manager Show”. Hear updates and information on the Sparta Downtown Streetscape & Waterline Project - Details here opens in a new window
December 12, 2018
December 4, 2018
Click the link to the “Sparta Town Council Meeting”. Hear updates and information on the Sparta Downtown Streetscape & Waterline Project - Details here opens in a new window
December 4, 2018
November 7, 2018
Click the link to the “Sparta Town Council Meeting”. Hear updates and information on the Sparta Downtown Streetscape & Waterline Project - Details here opens in a new window
November 7, 2018
October 10, 2018
Click the link to the “The Mayor & Town Manager Show”. Hear updates and information on the Sparta Downtown Streetscape & Waterline Project - Details here opens in a new window
October 10, 2018
October 2, 2018
Click the link to the “Sparta Town Council Meeting”. Hear updates and information on the Sparta Downtown Streetscape & Waterline Project - Details here opens in a new window
October 2, 2018
September 18, 2018
Click the link to the “Sparta Town Council Meeting”. Hear updates and information on the Sparta Downtown Streetscape & Waterline Project - Details here opens in a new window
September 18, 2018
September 4, 2018
Click the link to the “Sparta Town Council Meeting”. Skip to 23:30 in the video to hear updates and information on the Sparta Downtown Streetscape & Waterline Project - Details here opens in a new window
September 4, 2018
June 11, 2018
Click the link to the “The Mayor & Town Manager Show”. Skip to 4:58 in the video to hear updates and information on the Sparta Downtown Streetscape & Waterline Project - Details here opens in a new window
June 11, 2018
June 5, 2018
Click the link to the “Sparta Town Council Meeting”. Skip to 16:08 in the video to hear updates and information on the Sparta Downtown Streetscape & Waterline Project - Details here opens in a new window
June 5, 2018
May 14, 2018
Click the link to the “The Mayor & Town Manager Show”. Skip to 9:08 in the video to hear updates and information on the Sparta Downtown Streetscape & Waterline Project - Details here opens in a new window
May 14, 2018
April 3, 2018
Click the link to the “The Mayor & Town Manager Show”. Skip to 15:20 in the video to hear updates and information on the Sparta Downtown Streetscape & Waterline Project - Details here opens in a new window
April 3, 2018
April 3, 2018
Click the link to the “Sparta Town Council Meeting”. Skip to 56:24 in the video to hear updates and information on the Sparta Downtown Streetscape & Waterline Project - Details here opens in a new window
April 3, 2018
March 6, 2018
Click the link to the “Sparta Town Council Meeting”. Skip to 33:53 in the video to hear updates and information on the Sparta Downtown Streetscape & Waterline Project - Details here opens in a new window
March 6, 2018
March 6, 2018
Click the link to the “The Mayor & Town Manager Show”. Skip to 11:49 in the video to hear updates and information on the Sparta Downtown Streetscape & Waterline Project - Details here opens in a new window
March 6, 2018

February 18, 2018

Below is a written overview of our work and an update on progress from late November to early February:

Communications-Related

  • Project Information Signage: Design, budgeting, and production of project information signage to be placed at high-traffic pedestrian locations around town to keep the general public aware and informed; signage to be rolled out in March
  • Mass Communication Tool: Vetting, selection, and setup of a new mass communication platform to be utilized by Town of Sparta, Sparta Police, and Chamber of Commerce for quick messaging via voice call, text message, email, and social media; system will go live in March
  • Website: Design, content development, and buildout of “Streetscape” page on Town of Sparta website, including Frequently Asked Questions, Project Updates, and Project Overview; website update will go live in March
  • Merchant Survey: Development and administration of a survey to gather and verify information from downtown merchants (including hours of operation, priority times to avoid disruption, and access points for customers and deliveries) in order to inform construction contractors and process managers; survey to be completed by April

 

Construction-Related

  • Final Architect Plans: Finalization of landscape architecture and furnishings related to above-ground streetscape elements
  • Final Engineering Plans: Finalization of underground waterline and utilities, drainage system design, road and sidewalk design, etc.
  • Lighting: Selection of dark sky compliant, energy efficient, size-proportionate light pole and lighting for downtown corridor
  • Wayfinder Signage: Design, materials selection, and cost estimation of wayfinder signage to direct motorists and pedestrians to public destinations such as Post Office, Library, Park, Community College, etc.
  • Business Directory: Design, materials selection, and cost estimation of a downtown business directory to be placed near the center of town for pedestrians
  • Trees: Selection of tree type
  • Furnishings: Selection of material and style for benches and trash bins

 

Timeline-Related

  • To be updated following meetings with USDA the week of June 4

Construction Information

The slide presentation offers an overview and visual previews of the streetscape design.

Streetscape and Waterline Construction is expected to take place between mid-July (after the July 4th parade) and late-November of 2018 (before the annual Christmas parade). The final stages of the Roadway and Paving Construction is expected to be completed over a 30-day period following in Spring 2019. The process will be carefully planned to minimize, to the extent possible, any impact on parking, traffic flow, and pedestrian access to local businesses. We appreciate your patience as we work to implement important updates and improvements to our downtown, including the following:

  • Utilities: Overhead powerlines and utilities will be converted to underground lines.
  • Parking: 42 on-street parking spaces will be provided with only 4 spaces lost due to Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations concerning proximity of on-street parking to intersections. There will be approximately 163 total parking spaces on or near Main Street, including the future parking lot on W. Whitehead Street.
  • Traffic Light: The traffic light at Whitehead and Main will be transitioned from a wire-mounted light to a pole-mounted light with a mast arm. The actual traffic light will reside overhead on the arm, as opposed to the pole. Street names will also be mounted overhead on the mast arms.
  • Street & Sidewalk Lighting: New lamp poles will have energy efficient LIGHT EMITTING DIODE (LED) light bulbs, dark sky compliant coverings, and electrical outlets for decorative seasonal lighting. (For more information, see “Additional Descriptions of Architectural Elements”.)
  • Driving Lanes: The center turn lane will be preserved. Lane size will be slightly narrower to comply with DOT standards.
  • Sidewalks: Widening, regrading, and reconstruction will make sidewalks safer for pedestrians, especially disabled and senior downtown patrons.
    Pedestrian Crossings: There will be clearly marked crosswalks at main intersections and one mid-block crossing near the Chamber of Commerce.
  • Curb Extensions & Bump Outs: At the main intersections, curb extensions and bump outs will create greater safety for pedestrians walking near passing traffic.
  • Street Trees: Thornless Honeylocust (Gleditsia triacanthos variety inermis) will be planted in grates along the sidewalk. (For more information, see “Additional Descriptions of Architectural Elements”.)
  • Benches: Benches will be placed at key locations along the downtown sidewalks. Each bench will be 6’ long with a back. The style is called “Everett” by Keystone Ridge Designs. The color of the benches will match the metal of the light poles, receptacles, and sign poles.
  • Signs: In addition to street signs, the streetscape will include 3 wayfinding signs (directing motorists and pedestrians to significant landmarks) and a business directory (to help pedestrians find specific businesses).

Additional Descriptions of Architectural Elements:

Pedestrian-Scale Street Lights:
These lights, which will illuminate the sidewalk and on-street parking, will feature:

  • Height of approximately 16’
  • Light fixtures casting light downward to preserve dark skies (as opposed to traditional lantern-style lights which cast light in all directions)
  • Energy-saving LED lights, which last 25 times longer than an incandescent source emitting an equivalent amount of light
  • Double-mounted light fixtures (two lights coming from one pole) attached with a bishop’s hook style cross arm
  • LED color temperature* not to exceed 3000K, per recommendations made by the American Medical Association (AMA)
    *Color temperature (CT) is a measure of the spectral content (how much blue, green, yellow, and red) of light from a source. A higher CT rating generally means greater blue content, which makes the light appear whiter. Many urban cities use “white” LED lights, which have a color temperature of 4000-5000K. This unnecessarily intense lighting can cause discomfort and glare. Sparta will use a much softer light that is sufficient for visibility and safety, and standard enough to be cost effective.

 

Street Trees:
Thornless Honeylocust (Gleditsia Triacanthos variety Inermis) trees will be planted in grates along the sidewalk. Features include:

  • Grows relatively quickly and can reach heights of 30-40 feet
  • Open, airy canopy (will not significantly block business names or attract bird nesting)
  • Tolerant of various harsh environmental conditions such as salt and soil compaction that can kill other trees
  • Non-messy (the cultivar Sunburst, which has been specified, does not develop the seed pods of other locusts)
  • Beautiful foliage


This tree is slow to leaf out in the Spring, but, when it does, the foliar display is “a sight to behold” as described by one botanist. The new foliage starts out yellow, then morphs to a still attractive greenish-yellow, before assuming a light green shade in summer. When it is time for the fall-foliage display, the leaves return to the yellow color that marked them in the Spring.

Pole-Mounted Traffic Lights:
The traffic light at Whitehead and Main will be transitioned from a wire-mounted light to a pole-mounted light with a mast arm. (The actual traffic light will reside overhead on the mast arm, as opposed to the pole.) Street names will also be mounted overhead on the mast arm.

Benches:
Benches will be placed at key locations along the downtown sidewalks and will have the following features:

  • 6’ long with a back
  • Style is called “Everett” by Keystone Ridge Designs
  • Color will match the metal of the light poles, receptacles, and sign poles
  • Wide slats, broad arms, and tapered legs form a clean, contemporary look while offering strong, supportive comfort

 

Signs:
In addition to street signs, the streetscape will include:

  • 3 wayfinding signs (directing motorists and pedestrians to significant landmarks)
  • Business directory (to help pedestrians find particular businesses)

Both types of signs will be custom designed for Sparta. The shape will coordinate with the county branding package, mimicking the Blue Ridge Parkway stone underpass.

Project Team

A large team is working behind the scenes to ensure this important initiative runs as smoothly as possible. This team, which focuses on both construction design and communications design, is made up of representatives from the Town of Sparta, Alleghany Chamber of Commerce opens in a new window, Sparta Revitalization Committee opens in a new window, Blue Ridge Business Development Center opens in a new window, Destination by Design opens in a new window, McGill Associates opens in a new window, and Versado Foundation opens in a new window.