2012-04-26 / Front Page

Main Street widening details offered to merchants

810-452-2650 • ggould@mihomepaper.com

DAVISON — Merchants and motorists can expect street closings, delivery inconveniences and parking issues next summer when the city widens and repaves Main Street. When completed, however, city officials say downtown will be safer with a wider street and improvements to the sidewalks and store facades that will make Main Street much more inviting to businesses and customers.

City Engineer Leanne Panduren, of Rowe Professional Services Inc., said the Main Street widening could start around this time in 2013, but said input is needed from merchants about whether they want the work to take place before or after the Festival of Flags.

She said the city will keep the community updated with weekly reports on its website so everyone is aware of potential traffic tie-ups.

“Traffic control will be a big issue,” said Panduren. “There will be times when Main Street is closed block to block and there will be temporary detours.”

She said traffic will continue to have access to the parking lots behind the store fronts on Main Street — in the parking lot on the west side of the PKSA Karate Studio and east in Shopper’s Alley — via Mill and Second streets.

She urged merchants to share information with the city about deliveries to their businesses so the contractors are aware when trucks might be arriving.

Councilman Jack Abernathy, who was city manager the last time Main Street was repaved, said everyone has worked together downtown to make sure deliveries were not disrupted by the road work.

“Some businesses don’t have back access,” said Abernathy. “When that happened before we mustered volunteers to help handle the deliveries.”

Panduren said deliveries can be moved up and down Main Street on twowheeled hand-trucks because even though sidewalks and curbs will be torn up on the west side of the street, there will still be a strip of sidewalk remaining for people to use.

The long-debated canopies, which still line the west-side of Main Street, will also become a thing of the past when they are removed later this year to make way for the widening project.

Dave Larson, owner of Larson’s Hardware, 225 N. Main St., said even though he has been in support of keeping the canopies, he is pleased with the plan to widen Main Street.

He urged the council, however, to make sure grant money is available for the merchants to repair their store facades once the 50-year-old canopies are taken down.

“I just want assurances there’s something there to make it better when the canopies come down,” said Larson. “There needs to be grant money there for the building facades. I’d rather see this all done in one fell swoop. The canopies and the widening.”

Panduren said the canopies will come down quickly and their removal is planned before the end of this year and that the Downtown Development Authority is working to have grant money available to fix the store front affected.

City Councilman Jack Abernathy reiterated to merchants that the resurfacing will not cost the merchants anything.

“There’s no cost to the property owners for the improvements outlined,” he said. “There will be no special assessment. There will be grant money for the building fronts and there may be some cost to the merchants for that. But there will be no assessment received in the mail.”

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