This spring Preston will be affected by the "Twenty-14" project, which is the reconstruction of several blocks of streets in the area of the firehouse and south hill, affecting the whole neighborhood. There will be long-needed street work and utility repairs on Fillmore Street between St. Paul Street and the bridge.

The project's process has already begun, but City Administrator Joe Hoffman anticipates the plans will be finalized in February.

"Bids will begin in March or April and construction would begin in May or June. We do not want to start the major construction before Trout Days on May 16 through May 18, but preparations for the construction may begin before then," he explained.

The necessity of the project was emphasized by Hoffman during the annual Preston Chamber of Commerce meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 28.

"There is not much more we can do for repairs anymore. With the reconstruction we hope to get another 50 years of service life out of the project," he said.

The project will consist of about three miles of street and utility work to be done. Each mile will cost about $1 million, bringing the total cost of the project to be $3.3 million. The city will be buying a 15-year bond for the repayment plan for the street, water and sewage work.

Instead of tearing up the whole road, the construction will replace the curb, street and some of the sidewalks along Fillmore Street. Hoffman hopes homeowners of that area will have adequate access to their driveways with some short periods of interruption during the day.

However, he stressed the time may vary based on each case. "Some may have access at all times, but some may not have access for a few days. We will not know for sure until we get closer to the dates, but we will keep people informed," he assured.

Improvements will also be made on the intersection of St. Paul and Main. Pedestrian bump-outs or curb extensions will be installed. This will result in a loss of two to four parking spots in the intersection area.

The improvements to the streets will prompt 150 assessment notices to be sent out to as many businesses and property owners that are affected. After the completion of the construction, taxes for the homes and businesses will increase about 17 percent over the next six or seven years to fund the program. For example, a $75,000 home would have a tax increase of $6 per month. Utilities will also increase with an estimated 20 percent raise in water and sewage rates.

Because of these increases, Preston will lose the lowest spot of living cost in the county. It will still remain on the lower end of the scale, but not the lowest, Hoffman explained.

He added that the city has devised an official logo for the project, labeled "Twenty-14." A twitter feed for the progress may be initialized in order to keep residents up to date. There were suggestions on either weekly or bi-weekly progress reports in the local newspapers and a weekly meeting at city hall. As yet, no arrangements for that have been made, but Hoffman is seriously considering the option.