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Council delays decision on Nebraska Ave.

Published Feb. 15, 2006

(ran North, South editions)

The City Council postponed a decision Tuesday night on the proposed streetscaping project along Nebraska Avenue, fearing the cost of Railroad Square could become a runaway train.

The council budgeted $1-million to add trees, benches, paved brick sidewalks and perhaps an old caboose reminiscent of New Port Richey's whistle-stop days. But new questions arose Tuesday night about project's cost, which could rise if workers must relocate utility lines or add culverts for stormwater drainage.

City Council member Marilynn deChant said many merchants support the idea of making Nebraska Avenue one way, providing wider sidewalks for leisurely strolls, cafe dining and festivals. But City Manager Scott Miller said that could be costlier than keeping Nebraska as a two-way road, as utilities might have to be redone.

Sitting as the Community Redevelopment Agency, the council members agreed to postpone a decision on the Nebraska Avenue design until next month, when consultant Reynolds, Smith and Hills can present cost estimates.

"I would still like to see one way," Mayor Dan Tipton said, "but the cost is swaying me."

Railroad Square would encompass Nebraska Avenue between Adams and Bank Streets.