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St. Augustine looking to repair crumbling streets

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Updated: 8/29/2013 8:49 pm
 ST AUGUSTINE, Fla.-- If St. Augustine roads could talk, they could give us a history lesson. Many of the roads date back to the 16th century, and although the streets of St. Augustine's core business district maybe rich in history, the city said they're lacking in functionality.

"It was designed in 1573.

Certainly we weren't thinking about cars at that point, and so now the idea is how can we better balance vehicles and pedestrians," said landscape architect Jeremy Marquis.

The city has hired architects like Marquis to redesign the old streets one alley at a time, starting with Treasury Street, where old asphalt asphalt is crumbling, exposing original brick. Marquis said he wants to rip up the road and restore it to what it may have looked like in all brick.

"It's really using authentic materials that would have been here in the 1890s as much as possible re-utilizing materials, but really the idea is to restore the street to make this fit into our history," said Marquis.

He said he also wants to lower the sidewalks to make an area that's become dangerous for pedestrians more walker-friendly. But some said the city is going down a bad road, disturbing the city's natural history.

"I think it would be a shame because it is the history of St. Augustine," said neighbor, Jim Peters. "Leave it as it is. Leave it the way it should be."

The first stages of this multimillion-dollar project are already in the books slated to start on Orange Street in early fall.

The city says said it is open to public suggestion but ultimately they need to keep the streets safe.

"We're in a living city, and to have crumbling infrastructure that's not necessarily historic, and we want to make sure we're coming back in with the right materials and make sure that we're preserving and restoring our history," said Marquis.

Other streets in the historic core of the city are also being looked into for revitalization but the city said they are taking baby steps for financial reasons.
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