RAYMONDVILLE — For as long as 80 years, the city’s first sidewalks have carried shoppers along the rows of brick buildings lining the city’s downtown.
But for decades, cracks have scarred the foot-thick sidewalks, marring merchants’ efforts to revitalize their storefronts.
“The sidewalks are in bad shape and need to be replaced,” City Manager Eleazar Garcia said yesterday. “They go back to when the city of Raymondville was built — to the 1940s or ‘50s.”
Earlier this week, city commissioners approved a $375,000 project to lay brick pavers along the stretch along each side of Hidalgo Avenue from Fifth to Sixth streets.
For about three years, the city has planned the project aimed at sprucing up the downtown area, Garcia said.
“Aesthetically, it will improve the downtown,” he said. “It’ll make the beat-up sidewalks safe sidewalks.”
Garcia said the city selected the brick pavers after studying downtown sidewalk projects.
“The brick pavers kind of have a terra cotta look,” Garcia said. “We looked at how other downtowns revitalized their sidewalks and a lot have that style.”
Mayor Gilbert Gonzales said the terra cotta brick pavers help emanate an ambiance similar to old-fashioned walkways.
“It’s going to really look nice,” Gonzales said. “It’s going to make the downtown look a lot prettier.”
The city will use a $325,000 grant from the Texas Department of Agriculture and $75,000 from the city’s Economic Development Corporation to fund the project.
As part of the project, crews will tear out the old concrete sidewalks, Garcia said.
Gonzales said crews will lay the brick pavers on a foundation rising about a foot high.
Now, the city is requesting construction bids for the job.
Garcia said he expects to launch the six-month project within 60 to 90 days.
WHAT’S IN THE SIDEWALK PROJECT?
Hidalgo Avenue from Fifth to Sixth streets
Brick pavers to replace old sidewalks
Texas Department of Agriculture $325,000 grant
Economic Development Corporation $75,000 match
Total — $375,000