For nearly a century, brick-lined streets have been a constant feature in the downtown Denison streetscape. However, what was once a common sight on many streets in Denison, may disappear from one downtown street soon.

For nearly a century, brick-lined streets have been a constant feature in the downtown Denison streetscape. However, what was once a common sight on many streets in Denison, may disappear from one downtown street soon.


On Monday, the Denison City Council voted unanimously to approve the $1.14 million Chestnut Street rehabilitation project. The project calls for the replacement of a 10-inch water main and the removal of the existing brick pavers along a four-block section of Chestnut Street.


"The proposal is to do a complete intersection rehabilitation on Mirick," Assistant Public Works Director Kyle Hockersmith told the council. "It will start west of the intersection with Mirick and stop just short of the Austin intersection."


While the project will mean the removal of the bricks in favor of a concrete roadway, officials said it will solve the issue of aging water infrastructure that has plagued the area. With each water main break, the roadway was cut and another patch of asphalt or concrete was added to the face of the street.


"We have a mishmash of bricks, pavers and concrete we now need to address," Interim City Manager Jud Rex said. "I agree it is a part of the city’s history and heritage, but it is difficult to maintain."


Hockersmith said the project calls for either brick pavers or stamped concrete made to look like brick at each of the four intersections. Hockersmith said the stamped concrete can simulate the look of traditional brick, even down to wear and age patterns.


For at least six years, the council has been exploring its options in dealing with the issues on Chestnut while maintaining the historic feature, Mayor Jared Johnson said.


Johnson said the council tried many avenues of maintaining the brick street including allowing citizens to raise the money for the project and using stamped concrete to maintain the feel of the original brick, in 2013. However, the color of this concrete stood out noticeably from the surrounding bricks.


"Council has talked about this too long," Johnson said.


Even during Monday’s meeting, the council continued to discuss the future of the bricks, including the possibility of storing and saving the salvageable bricks for a public works project.


Around downtown, opinions were mixed on the issue. Realtor Tina Moon, who owns an office on Main Street and serves on the Historic Preservation Board, said she was convinced to move to downtown due to the historic feel of it, down to the brick roads.


"That’s the whole charm of downtown," Moon said, recalling times when even Main Street had brick roads.


Moon said this sets a bad precedent for removing the historic characteristics of an area. "We let these things slip by and then what’s left that matters," Moon said.


Ron Vest, the owner of Grayson County Title Co., said he has seen the damage but personally likes the feel of the pavers. As an alternative, Vest said he has seen stamped concrete work elsewhere.


Still, he said, most people don’t care about the aesthetics. "I think most people just want the road to be smooth," he said.


At the council meeting, Main Street resident Mary Karam called for a compromise. While the streets may no longer be lined with brick, Karam suggested that the existing brick be salvaged and used in the intersections.


While Hockersmith was uncertain if enough brick could be salvaged, he said there might be enough for the intersection leading to Forest Park, which also brick pavers in the intersection.


The Council voted unanimously to proceed with bidding for the project before deciding what to do with the existing brickwork. Rex said he is hopeful the bricks could see a new life elsewhere in the city


"It would be neat to see those bricks used again in a public project," Rex said.