This project took place in Berea, KY (Madison County), also known as the “The Folk Arts and Crafts Capital of Kentucky.” For this project, HMB developed preliminary and final roadway plans to improve the section of Prospect Street (KY 21) beginning in front of the historic Boone Tavern and extending to Peachbloom Street. Prospect Street serves as the main gateway to Berea and Berea College from the south. Over the years, numerous pavement overlays created unsafe roadway conditions with deep paved ditches along the existing route. During heavy rainfall, the drainage runoff created numerous flooding problems for residents along the roadway. The existing sidewalks and retaining walls were also in disrepair and deteriorating. The City of Berea received federal funding in order to improve the roadway, rebuild the sidewalks and improve the roadway drainage.
HMB was able to work with the City and collaborate with the College, property owners, and utility companies to develop a plan that not only improved the roadway but also provided an aesthetically pleasing corridor that accommodated automobiles, pedestrians, and bicycles. The project involved constructing new curb, gutter and storm sewers along the existing roadway, which were constructed within the existing right of way. Also included was the reconstruction of an existing narrow bridge over Brushy Creek. The new typical section includes a new sidewalk on the north side and a shared use path on the south side.
In conjunction with the development of project plans, HMB prepared the Categorical Exclusion (CE) determination; a biological assessment (BA) for the Indiana bat, gray bat, running buffalo clover, and globe bladderpod; and the US Army Corps of Engineers Section 404 permit. In addition to the federally listed species addressed in the CE and BA, project improvements required avoiding impacts to the numerous listed and eligible National Register properties located in the corridor.
HMB was also responsible for the acquisition of 43 parcels. The parcels were acquired as construction easements. The majority of the easements were located in the front yards of older improved residential lots. The negotiations required a very sensitive understanding of how owners valued the aesthetics of their property along with the ability to explain how the project will affect their properties. HMB was able to acquire all easements within the time frame required without the need of filing any suits.
The Prospect Street project was a Local Public Agency (LPA) project funded through an agreement between the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and the City of Berea. The project was completed in 2011.