Hugs, high tens, huge smiles, and a howl or two highlighted the happy moment when Weed Pride volunteers laid the final Main Street Project paver brick early Thursday afternoon.

Hugs, high tens, huge smiles, and a howl or two highlighted the happy moment when Weed Pride volunteers laid the final Main Street Project paver brick early Thursday afternoon.

It was actually only part of brick, carefully shaped using the brick cutting saw that wore down three diamond cutting blades during the three year project through downtown Weed.

Mayor Bob Hall, surrounded by more than a dozen other volunteers, placed the final paver on the east end of the Weed Arch, directly across the street from the spot where the first brick was laid in 2010.

Pride was one of the feelings expressed, along with relief, a sense of accomplishment, joy, friendship, and readiness to carry on with Weed Pride’s mission to work with the community to create an attractive and inviting Main Street.

“This has been one of the most powerful experiences of my life,” said Mayor Hall. “It’s a very emotional moment. More than 100 people invested their time and energy, sore muscles, and sore backs. I feel joy, relief, a sense of social accomplishment.”

City Council member Ken Palfini said he felt, “Relief; that it was a long job and quite the accomplishment; three years of work and a year of planning. It’s an example of what you can do if you put your mind to it. This is not the end; it’s just the beginning of what I think we can do.”

Jim Taylor pointed to the many citizens “from all walks of life” who participated, including City of Weed employees, members of the Fire Department, young kids – “a cross section of the population... We worked in sunshine, rain, snow, and freezing weather.”

Taylor said friendships were made and friendships were renewed.

“Bob (Hall) and I go back 40 years,” Taylor said. “We drifted away, but we came together in our commitment to this... There were naysayers; some said it will never make it, but as a group we did it. With this group I wouldn’t be afraid to tackle anything.”

Taylor noted that three generations of some Weed Pride members’ families worked on the project. He called it “a big family effort.”

“It’s a great feeling,” said John Oliver. “When you have a vision, you never know what will happen. This group was committed.”

Oliver said completing the Main Street Project “took longer than we thought.”

Planning began in July 2009, followed by months of designing, plan approval, and obtaining funding.

The work included putting in new curbs and gutters, crosswalks, new light standards, sidewalks with hand-laid pavers, trees, and a wrought iron fence along Boles Creek. Volunteers painted two buildings and the gazebo in Centennial Park. Two benches, titled Night and Day, by artist William Wareham, were funded by Shasta Regional Community Foundation with help from Siskiyou Arts Council.

Some 2,400 feet of conduit for new lights was trenched and installed, the lights wired, 27 concrete footings for light standards poured, half a ton of polymer sand swept into the pavers, 14 custom tree grates designed, 14 new trees planted, and a huge silver sycamore tree replanted, according a report from Weed Pride member Donna Winger.

Winger took photos as the final bricks were placed and posted them within hours on the Weed Pride Facebook page.

The project’s price tag was estimated at approximately $470,000.

Those who lent a hand and or donated funds included volunteers from Hammond Lake to Lake Shastina, College of the Siskiyous, Weed High School, Weed Chamber of Commerce, Weed Revitalization Coalition, Weed Resource Center, Weed Parks and Recreation, RadioStar Studios, the Weed and Siskiyou Arts Councils, and River Run Gallery.

Laying bricks on the first side of the street took much longer, starting and stopping and needing to be re-done three times in front of the Chamber office because “the bricks weren’t going in right,” according to John Oliver.

But the process got more efficient as they went along.

“It was a community-based project, like the Centennial Plaza,” Oliver said. “We had visionaries, and the city working with volunteers. New City Administrator Ron Stock has done a good job; he rushed the priority on it. We couldn’t have done it without the equipment from the City and insurance.”

As Thursday’s celebration subsided and cleanup began, PJ Hall and Chris Lane, two volunteers who were there for the first brick and there for the last, looked down Main Street from the arch and reflected on the effort involved.

“It definitely brightens the downtown,” said Lane.

“We put in a lot of time,” said PJ. “It was worth it.”

Some paver bricks remain and future projects are being considered. Ideas, according to Winger, include a downtown park with a facility for performances, historical art, signage, and banners for the pedestrian lights.