A historic neighborhood in Clearwater may soon take drivers down memory lane as brick streets replace the paved roads. Harbor Oaks neighborhood, located just north of Morton Plant Hospital, is a 110-home community dating back to the early 1900s.
“Harbor Oaks is a very historic neighborhood, however, there is a myth that it once had brick streets,” says Mike Quillen, director of engineering for the city of Clearwater
. “The truth is there have never been brick streets there, if the petition passes then the neighborhood will get brick streets for the first time.”
The petition Quillen refers to has been made by residents of the Harbor Oaks neighborhood, which is comprised of multi-million dollar homes, some residents have been waiting years for the brick streets to become a reality for the future.
“Over the last few years, we have been looking into different solutions for traffic calming in that neighborhood and brick is one solution,” Quillen says. “It also looks very nice, which would likely raise the property value on the homes.”
He goes on to say that the timing for this project is advantageous for those who support the cause because there is already an underground infrastructure project underway, so the pavement has to be removed regardless.
“To do the brick streets would be a $1.8 million project as it is, so if the residents want this now would be the time to do it.”
The city will not be footing the bill on the project. The city will be polling the residents affected by the project, and if at least 65-percent are in favor, the brick will be installed with a special assessment put on the homes to cover the cost.
“We will know what the decision is in the next few weeks,” Quillen says. “If it is approved, work on the brick streets will start a year from now.”
In addition to being an innovative, yet expensive answer to traffic calming, it is also a unique solution.
“We have researched a lot of cities throughout the states and it is very unusual to find a neighborhood that desires brick roads, Quillen says. “These days it is more common to find cities replacing their brick roads with asphalt.”
Roads that could potentially become brick streets include parts of Druid Road West, and Druid Road South, Jasmine Way, Magnolia Drive, Lotus Path, Bay Avenue, and small areas of Orange and Oak Avenues.