Motorists and residents were greeted with an unfamiliar site downtown: No orange-and-white barricades and barrels.
The traffic barricades along Main Street, which has been closed and under construction since late February, were gone Wednesday afternoon, June 29. Soon afterward, the roadway was again rumbling with traffic and lined with parked cars.
The $2.5 million project entailed the reconstruction of Main Street as well the replacement of the water main, rehabilitation of the sanitary sewer line and storm sewer utilities and the widening of sidewalk terraces.
The city also bolstered the downtown streetscape aesthetics by installing decorative bricks in the terrace and adding 18 trees to pedestrian walkways, city staff said.
Reason to celebrate
On Thursday, June 30, city officials and downtown business owners celebrated Main Street's reopening with a brief ceremony at the Five Points intersection, commemorating the end of the four-month reconstruction project that affected not only business owners but popular downtown events as well.
The mood was cheerful as Mayor Shawn Reilly congratulated the city's department of public works and construction crews on the finishing the project in 'record time' — about one month ahead of schedule.
The project had been slated for completion by the end of July. The fast finish, Reilly said, was a personal best for the city.
He added that he had not received even one complaint about the work.
'These guys did a really great job,' he said.
Additionally, construction ended just in time for the city's annual Fourth of July Parade, which planners initially expected would have to follow an alternate route.
Business owners pleased
Reilly's was not the only smiling face to walk away from the June 30 ceremony.
Downtown business owners Lynn Pfeil and Karin White both said they were happy to see the project, which affected their sales, come to an end.
But the impact of this year's project was limited, said White, who owns the Little Swiss Clock Shop.
'There's no doubt about it that construction affects any retail business,' she said. 'But we got through this as best we could. The construction crew did a phenomenal job.'
White added that the city and other downtown merchants did a great job of communicating to each other and the public about all the project's developments and did what they could to remind shoppers that their businesses remained open during construction.
Pfeil, who opened her Farmer's Daughter Collection art gallery and store in the middle of the project, said sales during construction were slow but she's hopeful they'll improve now that Main Street has reopened.
'I know that everyone was looking forward to (the project being over),' she said. 'I'm hoping that (business) picks up.'
Several popular downtown events — notably, Friday Night Live, the weekend farmers market and the Memorial Day and Fourth of July parades — had to be adjusted to accommodate the work.
Some stages at Friday Night Live moved indoors and others weren't scheduled to open until construction was complete; the farmers market moved to a new location; and the parades were rerouted to circumvent the project.
Now that Main Street has been reopened, residents can once again enjoy Friday Night Live unimpeded, and city staff said the Fourth of July parade will once again follow its familiar route.
'It's nice to talk about (the construction) in the past tense,' White said.