Monday, June 7, 2010

7 June 1906: City Council Votes for Sidewalks on Hancock Avenue

On this day in 1907, the Athens City Council met at 8:00 p.m. and passed the following Ordinance:

Section I.
Be it Ordained by the Mayor and Council of the City of Athens, and it is hereby Ordained by the authority of the same, that a portion of the sidewalk on Hancock Ave. to wit:

All that portion of the sidewalk lying on the North side of Hancock Ave. between the intersection of said Hancock Ave. and Church St. on the East and said Hancock Ave. and Harris St. on the West, all of which is without the fire limits of the City of Athens, but is a continuation of the sidewalk on the North side of said Hancock Ave., which is paved and which leads as so paved from within the fire limits of the city of Athens, be and the same, is hereby Ordained to be paved, curbed, and otherwise improved in the following manner to wit:

Section II.
The paving and other improvements of that portion of the sidewalk on Hancock Ave. hereby ordained to be made shall commence at the intersection of Church and Hancock Ave. streets, at the termination of the paved sidewalk on the North side of said Hancock Ave. and continue thence along Hancock Ave, and on the North side thereof, to the intersection of said Hancock Avenue with Harris St.

Section III.
That the portion of the sidewalk on the North side of Hancock Ave. as heretofore designated in this Ordinance, shall be paved to a distance of five feet in width between the curb line with first class hard brick, which brick shall be laid flat on a sand surface or bed of not less than two inches in depth; that the brick shall be of uniform thickness and shall be laid smooth and in a substantial manner, and shall have all cracks and crevices between them thoroughly closed and filled with sand filling.

Section IV.
That said brick paving when so laid shall be curbed on each side and end with brick of the same class and character as that used in laying the pavement, which shall be placed on end along both the outer edges of said paved surface and across the ends thereof, thereby holding in place and securing the said pavement and forming a substantial curb for the same.
The rest of the sections of the ordinance discussed how the brick sidewalk would be paid for, in part by the city, but also in part by the residents along Hancock Avenue whose property abutted the new sidewalk. The home and business owners were also responsible for some maintenance of the sidewalks, including pulling weeds and keeping the path clear for pedestrians.

The residents who lived on Hancock Avenue apparently took care of their sidewalks, because they are still in use today, thanks to a restoration project by the Athens-Clarke County Public Works Department. Almost exactly 103 years after the City Council passed the ordinance to create them, on June 8, 2009, the Athens-Clarke Heritage Foundation gave an Outstanding Restoration Award (pdf) to the Public Works Department for their on-going work to restore these brick sidewalks along Hancock Avenue and Reese Street.

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