| Bluffton Today
Bluffton Town Council got its first look last week at what Calhoun Street could look like after a series of planned upgrades that would highlight its status as the town’s arts district.
Earlier this year, the town hired a conceptual planning firm, MKSK from Greenville, that worked with local engineering firm Ward Edwards to develop recommendations for the future of Calhoun Street, which is near or part of several ongoing town projects.
The study included an analysis of other local arts districts, like those at Palmetto Bluff and Beaufort’s Habersham area. Town director of engineering Bryan McIlwee introduced the findings to council at a workshop.
The plans suggest a focus on improving Calhoun Street’s accessibility and walkability. They include:
• Widening and replacing sidewalks in favor of five-foot tabby concrete walks.
• Sidewalk connections to adjacent streets and parking (Boundary and Bridge streets).
• Improving stormwater management, including environmental pervious paver parking, which could make the town eligible for grants from the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control.
• Upgrading intersections to improve pedestrian safety (bulbouts, warnings, site furnishings, etc).
• Increasing accessibility.
• Eliminating overhead power lines, maintaining existing trees and planting new ones.
• Providing mail stations rather than individual mailboxes to accommodate a more centralized mail delivery.
For aesthetics, the plans propose modern street-art colored crosswalks, parking spaces marked by surfaces that vary from the rest of the street, and another street surface to distinguish the farmer’s market area that is home to events throughout the year.
McIlwee said there will be 285 parking spaces on or near Calhoun Street. That includes already completed additions at DuBois Park and Martin Family Park, among other areas.
“That’s quite an upgrade over the last few years,” he said.
Council members received the plans favorably. The presentation was just the introduction of the Calhoun Street improvement project, with more concrete plans expected later in the year. Much of the work is contingent on the progress of ongoing projects such as electrical work in the area.
The town is also engaged in the construction and renovation of various facets of Wright Family Park at Calhoun Street’s southern edge.
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