Reconstruction of the city’s historic Franklin Avenue staircase should begin in the spring.
City officials and consultants held an online forum on the staircase project last week. In addition to the staircase project, the officials also touched on plans for the creation of a small park project associated with the staircase at Forsyth Street.
“This is a project we are presently pursuing funding for, so we expect we will apply for funding through the Community Preservation Committee next spring, and if that is approved by the City Council, it would allow us to construct a small open space area on Forsyth Street later this calendar year,” said Alex Train, the city’s director of housing and community development. The small park would measure about 25 by 15 feet.
Tim Corrigan of project consultant Weston and Sampson said the contract for the reconstruction of the staircase between Franklin and Lafayette is currently out to bid. Corrigan said construction would take place beginning in May and run through August.
“The completion date figures to be mid-fall, accounting for some contingencies, and the job will have trades teams supporting the project in and out periodically, so it won’t be a continuous construction, so it should be a pretty active site that May through summer months,” said Corrigan.
The scope of the project will include the reconstruction of the landings on each end of the project area, according to Corrigan, with the current steps and landings being demolished and fully removed.
“Those who use these steps will probably appreciate that the condition is quite poor, but through the course of demolition, we will be trying to block access to this space to keep it from being a hazard to the neighborhood,” Corrigan said. “The existing landings, the existing railings, and the existing steps are all to be removed.”
To make things move quicker and to reduce labor on the project and to reduce costs, Corrigan said there will be sections of the staircase built and delivered to the site for installation.
“Alongside that walk will be lighting embedded in bollards,” Corrigan said. “It will be relatively low-profile lighting systems that cast towards the steps instead of into neighbor’s buildings. We’re trying to improve lighting, but instead of mounting up high and casting wide, they are going to be lights closely abuttting the walkway and casting to the path of travel.”
Work will be done during typical construction work hours, which are usually 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and there will be notice given to abutters before work begins, Corrigan said.
“Most of the shrubs and small plants that exist here will be removed and we will be replanting this corridor wholly with a mix of shrubs, trees, and the like to hopefully make it a really nice and cohesive space to pass and connect the neighborhood,” Corrigan said.