South 1st enhancements complete, business owners happy with results

Beautification project ends, new look for downtown

There's now a lot less orange in downtown Abilene.

In January, the city of Abilene started a $1.2 million project to give part of South 1st street a new look.

Six months later, the work is done.

The enhancement project included construction of sidewalks, medians, crosswalks, and the installation of new lighting.

About $700,000 of its funding came by way of a federal grant. The remaining $500,000 was put up by the city.

While the work made for some headaches by way of traffic congestion over the last six months, folks who work in the area say they're happy with the results.

"If people haven't been downtown to see the lights after dark, it's worth the trip down here just to see it," said Tom Rose, owner of Thomas Everett's Fine Furniture.

"I'm proud to be here and glad the project's over so I can really enjoy it now," said Steve Butman, who runs his photography shop just east of Rose.

"South 1st is an example of what we're looking to do in all of south downtown to help encourage the redevelopment of that area," said Jon James, director of planning and development services for the city of Abilene.

"30 years ago, this side of downtown looked a lot like the south side of downtown, and over the last 30 years the city has made huge improvements in looks and bringing in new development, so we're hoping to see the same thing happen on south side of downtown and south first is just kind of a first step."

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