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Streetscape improvements slated for Lovejoy

Road construction season is upon us, and motorists all over the city will need to be mindful of crews, from Lovejoy and Kaisertown to Fillmore Avenue and Humboldt Parkway.

Construction on new streetscapes on East Lovejoy and Clinton streets, and beautification of a public parking lot on East Delavan Avenue are set to begin in August, Mayor Byron W. Brown said Monday.

Concrete Applied Technologies Corp. was awarded a contract for $2.36 million for the three Lovejoy District projects. The city borrowed for the project as part of its capital plan, and state highway funding will cover $300,000 of the project cost.

The city already spent an additional $175,000 for engineering consulting work.

New lighting on East Lovejoy Street from Longnecker Street east to the city line and Clinton Street from just east of the I-190 to the city line will be brighter and more energy-efficient, an attempt to reduce the city’s $14 million annual electric bill. Those streets also will see new pavement, curbs, sidewalks, drainage systems and accessible walkways.

On East Delavan Avenue, a city parking lot at Harriet Avenue will be improved with paving, new fencing and possibly a new clock, to create more of a public square, said Council President Richard A. Fontana.

Borrowing for capital projects went a little differently this year, as the comptroller’s office and the Brown administration had a difference of opinion on how much the city should borrow for major construction projects.

Comptroller Mark J.F. Schroeder borrowed less for capital projects than the administration had requested, because the city historically has not used all of the borrowed funds within the year, incurring unnecessary interest, Schroeder said.

In April, Schroeder borrowed only $17.8 million for capital projects, instead of $21.3 million, which was approved by the Common Council.

“We’re going to be working to demonstrate to the comptroller that we’re ready to move these projects,” Brown said on Tuesday.

When all of the projects are ready, money will be made available, Schroeder said.

The Lovejoy District improvements, which are expected to be finished in a year, are just a fraction of the road projects in some stage of development in the coming months.

Construction also is planned for Humboldt Parkway, where $900,000 will be spent from Main Street to Martin Luther King Park; Fillmore Avenue, which will get a $2.2 million makeover from North Parade Avenue to East Ferry Street; and the Fruit Belt, which will see $3.2 million in work around Carlton Street.

The city’s cars on Main Street project reached a new phase last week when the Common Council approved a $15.8 million bid from Mark Cerrone Inc. for the 500 block, which begins at Huron Street.

Work on Elmwood Avenue near SUNY Buffalo State is expected to be completed in late June or early July, and work on Delaware Avenue south of North Street is nearly completed and will end this week, according to the city’s engineering department.