Miami's Main Street project is the priority of the city's new city engineer and completion of the full three-phase renovation effort is an estimated 18-months away.

Jack Dalrymple has tasked a member of his staff to tie up the loose ends of the Phase I design plans - which he anticipates will be approved by the Oklahoma Department of Transportation within days.

Upon approval of the plans, the engineer will order city crews to begin demolition of sidewalks on South Main Street.

Dalrymple confirmed Monday that the Main Street renovation project is not as far a long as what city council members and city administrators may have thought.

Dalrymple, who is one week into his new job as city engineer, said that utilizing city crews for demolition work is an effort to expedite the project and save money.

“I needed to get the cost of this project down so that we could do it with our own troops and get it started immediately,” Dalrymple said. “I can see nothing slowing us down if we start with our own people.”

Cost reductions include the elimination of decorative bricks and trees from the design.

“There are other things that we can do,” Dalrymple said. “There are applications for decorative brick patterns that can be applied to the sidewalks … they look just like brick, they are solid and they are less expensive.”

Phase I, which includes three blocks of South Main Street between Steve Owens Boulevard and Central Avenue, was to be financed in part through a $300,000 Oklahoma Department of Transportation grant awarded in June of 2005. City and county funds are also furthering the near $600,000 project which is now more than a year behind schedule.

The state asked that the project be completed by the fall of 2007. But, the flood of July 2007 and two major ice storms delayed work on the project, prompting the state to relax its deadline.

However, Dalrymple indicated that the state's patience is growing thin as grant expiration dates have come and gone more than once without progress from the city.

“The state has pulled that money back and held it for Miami four times,” Dalrymple said. “I don't think they are going to do that again … We have got to do something. We are tired of doing nothing.”

The state is now anticipating design plans for Phase II, a one-block area between Central Avenue and 1st Avenue North. Dalrymple said former city engineer Jerry Ruse resigned from his position having completed about 20 percent of those design plans.

Council members are now looking at an Oct. 1 deadline to again apply for transportation dollars to complete the final phase of the project.

A maximum of $500,000 is available, of which a 25 percent cash match is required, according to Larry Eller, the city's grant coordinator.

In an effort to fast-track the renovation project and put Main Street on target for a transition into Phase III, Dalrymple has set out the following plan.

€ The city will provide labor to complete two of the three Phase I blocks.

€ While city crews are working on the the two-block area between Central Avenue and South 2nd Street, bid processes will continue for the remainder of Phase I and the launch of Phase II. Advertisement for bids for the Phase I concrete work are out and work is expected to be complete in mid-November.

€ When Phase I and II are complete, city administrators believe a contract will be in place to transition into Phase III - a one-block Main Street project between 1st and 2nd streets north.

When completed, Main Street from Steve Owens Boulevard to 2nd Street North will have new sidewalks, new curb and guttering and new lighting.

Dalrymple expects the final phase of work to begin in April of 2009.

Mayor Brent Brassfield extended his appreciation to Dalrymple and said the city has hit a “grand slam” in hiring the longtime engineer.

“It is a good move for the city,” Brassfield said after announcing Dalrymple's hiring. “I am really excited about this and all that Jack brings to the table.”