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Painting the town grey: volunteers give Center St. underpass a facelift

By Kaitlin Loukides
Published On: Oct 07 2013 05:47:53 PM CDT
POCATELLO, Idaho -

Drivers in Pocatello might notice the Center Street underpass got a big makeover today.

This is the second year Old Town Pocatello along with the city of Pocatello and the Bannock Development Corporation came together to fix-up a decrepit structure in the city as part of an effort to beautify the community.

Although the underpass renovation project will kick off in 2016, Old Town Pocatello's Stephanie Palagi said it was still in desperate need of a paint job to hold it over until then.

"Instead of continuing to let it sit there and continue to deteriorate, we felt like we could just get in and put a fresh coat of paint on it," Palagi said. "It is not going to solve all of the problems, but it iwll be a visual improvement."

Some of the problems the underpass faces are not only the crumbling concrete walls, but streaks of graffiti that line the tunnel. However, Palagi said this year, the graffiti has not been too big of a problem.

"Deterioration," Palagi said. "With the structure itself, there is water damage. Of course we also had the floods this summer that did not help at all."

According to architect and member of the Historic Preservation Commission Latecia Herzog, this type of damage occurs when the water seeps through the cracks in the walls and rusts the rebar holding the walls up. This causes the concrete walls to crack even further, and eventually over time, the walls will start to crumble.

Herzog said she drives through the underpass every day when heading to work and feels the underpass is an eye sore.

"This is the corridor everybody sees as they travel to the historic district, and it is falling apart," Herzog said.  

Both Herzog and Palagi noted the exceptional community members who came out to support beautifying a community they take pride in and hopes the newly-painted underpass will serve as a reminder to travelers passing through, this is a representation of a community who cares.

This spring, Palagi said the city plans on making-over the sidewalks and retaining walls.

She estimates the total cost of this project is about $1,000.


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