FOLEY – Work is underway to extend East Jessamine Avenue to improve vehicle and pedestrian access from the City Hall complex to Heritage Park and beyond.

City crews are extending the road east from North Cypress Street  to the park at the intersection of North Chicago Street. 

The Foley City Council voted Monday, March 18, to provide $125,000 toward the project. Darrell Russell, Foley public works director, said the initial funding will allow the city to complete the one-block road in gravel and install drainage.

Mayor Ralph Hellmich said upcoming plans for the project also include sidewalks and other features extending from Heritage Park to City Hall.

“It will have drainage, curbing, parking, sidewalks and lighting,” Hellmich said. “It will also extend the sidewalk, eventually crossing Cypress Street.”

He said the design of the project is intended to match downtown improvement work done by Foley Main Street.

“We have looked at this as a comprehensive project similar to what we’ve done on the streetscape projects over the years,” Hellmich said. “It ties in with what Main Street is doing. It will tie in with what we call our campus area. It will be a comprehensive plan.”

The campus area includes City Hall and the Foley Public Library.

The mayor said sidewalks planned as part of the project will also link the City Hall facilities with areas west of Alabama 59.

“You’ll be basically able to walk from the Middle School on sidewalks and, by crossing a (pedestrian) bridge, go all the way to City Hall or the library,” Hellmich said. “It’s something that we’ve been trying to do downtown.”

Hellmich said the project will improve drainage on East Jessamine Avenue while still allowing the areas on the side of the street to be used for parking and other purposes.

“With underground drainage, we’ve got businesses along there on that south side. They currently use that right of way,” Hellmich said. “You can’t really have open ditches right in that particular area.”