Oak Hill Park work set to finish this summer, East State Street waiting on state to bid


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Jun 13, 2023

Oak Hill Park work set to finish this summer, East State Street waiting on state to bid

City Editor Materials for the new stage at Oak Hill Park sit near the future

City Editor

Materials for the new stage at Oak Hill Park sit near the future site of the facility, the final phase of a $450,000 project at the park funded partially by the state Downtown Revitalization Initiative.

OLEAN — Several city projects funded by the Downtown Revitalization Initiative are set to finally wrap up this summer, while another is nearing construction.

Work at Oak Hill Park will finish shortly, Mayor Bill Aiello reported, and the finishing touches along North Union Street are being completed. In addition, a major project along East State Street should be put out to bid in the near future with an expected groundbreaking this year.

At Oak Hill Park, subject of a $450,000 project, the restrooms are almost finished and the dog park is reopened after the removal of a tree deemed to be dangerous. The other major update at the park — a permanent stage — was delayed due to parts shortages.

"We finally got the wood components for the stage," Aiello said, adding the structure should be completed within a week of construction starting thanks to the prefabricated components currently piled near the existing concrete pad.

The project received $350,000 in aid under the 2017 Downtown Revitalization Initiative, one of 12 awards for projects in the city. Of the projects, five are sponsored by the city government for public projects. Originally set to be spent by 2023, state officials have allowed extensions for the $10 million effort due to the COVID-19 pandemic pushing back some of the projects by years.

The last work on North Union Street's $900,000 DRI upgrade is also almost done, Aiello said. The city cut the ribbon on the North Union Street project in October after the bulk of sidewalk upgrades, installation of fire pits, and other upgrades were complete, but some work has remained for this summer. The LED lights across North Union Street have been installed, but more electrical work is needed to get them running. Recently the fountains at the Olean Municipal Building have been finished and turned on, providing more appeal to the revamped plaza on the west side of the building.

Last year, the space was renovated with a brick area for public performances as well as upgraded lights for the mosaic on the wall depicting Olean's history. Also coming soon are safety grates for the fire pits, currently being built by Pierce Steel, the mayor added.

A project along East State Street, which received $1.2 million from the DRI, has not been put up for bidding by construction companies yet.

"The engineering firm had some corrections from DOT, and now it's back to DOT," Aiello said. "Once we have it back, we’ll put it out to bid."

The project includes narrowing East State Street to promote pedestrian access, a roundabout to replace the signalized intersection at Barry Street, and a 10-foot shared use path for pedestrians and bicycles on the north side of the street to connect the city center to the Allegheny River Valley Trail near the East State Street bridge.

Aiello said he hopes for a summer start to the project.

"We’ll see how hungry contractors are," he said.

After the East State Street project is completed, future DRI-funded projects on the drawing board include work along South Union Street, which received $1.4 million; and West State Street, which received $1.6 million while city officials apply for more grants to continue upgrades west, possibly as far as the city line.

(Contact City Editor Bob Clark at [email protected].)

City Editor

Bob Clark is the city editor of the Olean Times Herald, joining the staff in 2012.

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