Posted 7/21/15 (Tue)
By Kevin Killough
While the construction on Main Street has caused a significant disruption downtown, businesses and residents are patiently navigating the obstacles for what everyone is expecting to be a big improvement to the heart of Tioga.
“Quam is on schedule or slightly ahead,” said Streets Commissioner Heather Weflen, referring to the project’s contractor.
Weflen sat in on a construction update meeting on Friday afternoon in which city engineers related what can be expected in the near term.
There were no complaints from businesses or residents, she said. The only concern was people being mindful of the temporary water lines that are strung along the intersections and sidewalks.
People seem to understand that inconveniences were expected, and the city and Quam have been doing what they can to minimize those.
Tim Joyce, owner of Tioga Drug, said city worker Kirk Odegaard graded the alleyway behind his business, making it much easier to drive over. And they’ve been able to get the word out that businesses have access in the back.
“It seems like it was sluggish at first. People didn’t really know what to do,” Joyce said of his customers.
Now that word has gotten out, most traffic these days comes in through the back door of the business.
“It’s kind of an obstacle course out there right now,” he said.
Suzi Anderson is one of the store’s customers. She said access through the rear entrance was easy enough, and it was worth the inconvenience.
“You just know it’s going to be great when it’s done,” she said.
Besides business access people accept other inconveniences, such as noise, as being just part of the process. Irene Olson, who works at Shear Image, said customers experienced quite the rumble, which they laughed off, when the contractors starting digging out from the business on Friday.
“The customers were saying, ‘well I guess we get a massage too.’ The whole building was shaking,” she said.
Customers use both entrances at Shear Image, she said, and the temporary rear entrance works well enough.
Most places have a few parking spots by the back entrances, and the Economic Development Corporation has opened up the empty lots next to Hegstad Furniture for parking.
Weflen said specific completion dates are hard to pinpoint with so many unknowns that come up in the course of a project, especially one of this magnitude. But the contractors are on track to finish up by fall.
“I’m pretty excited to see it when it’s done,” she said.