Mount Vernon reconstruction earns Project of the Year Award

PRESCOTT - When the City of Prescott looked ahead to its South Mount Vernon Avenue reconstruction several years ago, officials say the planning was driven by a major factor: Historic preservation.

As one of the community's most prominent historic neighborhoods, Mount Vernon required special attention to detail, and that effort recently earned the project a state award.

While announcing the "project of the year" award at Tuesday's Prescott City Council meeting, Prescott Engineering Services Director Mark Nietupski pointed out that engineering firm Shepard-Wesnitzer and contractor Fann Contracting worked collaboratively over several years to develop a design and construct the improvements on South Mount Vernon.

"The project actually started in 2004 with community meetings...and key to those meetings was the preservation of the historic character of this important asset to the community, Mount Vernon Avenue," Nietupski said. Throughout that effort, he said, "Shepard-Wesnitzer was very diligent in working with the community."

Ultimately, the team reconstructed the entire street cross-section with new curb and gutter and underground utilities, even as it restored historic streetlights and retained early-Prescott details such as horse-head hitching posts and hitching rings.

Construction began in May 2012, and Nietupski noted that one of the critical elements was having the work substantially complete by October to ensure that Mount Vernon's traditional Halloween festivities could take place unimpeded.

"That was successfully obtained, and Fann Contracting is to be congratulated on that effort," Nietupski said.

At its August annual meeting, the Arizona Chapter of the American Public Works Association recognized the South Mount Vernon project as the 2013 public works project of the year in the category of small cities, rural communities transportation.

The council recognized members of the city's public works department, Shepard-Wesnitzer, and Fann Contracting at this week's meeting.