Sherman Streetscape Project awaiting trees for completion

With all construction in downtown Sherman completed, and traffic now flowing counter-clockwise around the Grayson County Courthouse, the installation of trees in the square and along Houston Street and Lamar Streets are all that remain in finishing the city’s Downtown Streetscape Project.

The Downtown Sherman Preservation and Revitalization group requested the opportunity to install 30 trees intended for the downtown square shortly after the project got underway, saving the city $8,371. DSP&R President David Baca said his organization intends to have those trees installed before Christmas.

“There’s no actual schedule, other than we’re trying to get them in as soon as we can,” Baca said. “Once we get them purchased, then they’ll be installed. We’re hoping the next couple of weeks, maybe sooner if possible, but it’s all going to depend on the supplier and the person we’re getting the bids from.”

To help pay for the trees, DSP&R sold tree sponsorships, which Baca said went quickly. The city of Sherman received a federal grant administered through the Texas Department of Transportation for the amount of $353,978 to pay for 80 percent of certain aspects of the entire Streetscape project. City Engineer Clay Barnett said the city is looking to finish planting the trees they’re responsible for in the same time frame as DSP&R.

“We have 32 trees we’re going to plant along Houston and Lamar, west of Crockett,” Barnett said. “We should see those in the next couple weeks, weather permitting.”

The changes that have been made to the downtown area have gone over very well with Baca’s organization and citizens he’s heard from.

“We’re ecstatic with the work that’s there now,” Baca said. “We’ve noticed some people going the wrong way, but that’s nothing new. I think the traffic is working a lot better.”

Barnett said the city hasn’t dealt with an major issues following the Nov. 10 change to one-way on Travis Street and Crockett Street in the downtown square.

“It’s been going very well,” the city engineer said. “It took a little bit of getting used to the first week, but since then we haven’t had any issues. Even that first week, although there were several confused people, there were no accidents or issues of that kind.”

From his office overlooking the square, Baca said he’s seen a definite improvement in traffic congestion.

“One thing that I haven’t seen are the back-ups that we used to get when people were trying to turn right onto Houston Street from Travis,” Baca explained. “There were times of the day, especially around noon and later in the day, when cars would back up into Lamar Street and beyond because there’s a car waiting to turn right and it couldn’t.”