Main Street face-lift could triple in cost to more than $9 million
A plan to renovate the retail hub and tourist draw that is downtown Grand Junction’s Main Street could cost nearly triple what officials originally estimated.
The Grand Junction City Council unanimously approved a plan Monday night that splits the project into two phases and allows the Downtown Development Authority to borrow nearly all of the money for the project from the city and pay it back in two installments.
The first phase of the project will cover Main Street between First and Third streets and be done from January to June of next year. The second phase will cover Fourth to Seventh streets and be done from January to June of 2011.
When the DDA unveiled plans to repair crumbling infrastructure and add improvements along Main Street five months ago, officials said the work would cost more than $3 million. A budget unveiled Monday night said the project could cost upwards of $9.4 million.
Roughly $8 million would be spent by the DDA, with the balance picked up by the city to pay for replacing a water line and project engineering and management.
DDA Executive Director Heidi Hoffman Ham said prior to the council meeting that the $3
million figure was meant to serve as a “placeholder” in the DDA’s budget and that officials based their original estimate on a belief that the work done would be similar in scope to the Colorado Avenue project.
But she said it quickly became apparent that work on Main Street will be more complex and intricate than on Colorado Avenue.
For instance, she said, workers will be taking care not to damage tree roots underneath Main Street when they replace the water line, remove trolley tracks that used to run down the street and repave the street. They’ll also rebuild planters around the trees and rebuild pedestals for pieces from the Art on the Corner program.
“There are just a lot more factors involved here,” she said.
Ham called the $9.4 million cost estimate a “worst-case scenario.” She said the price tag could come down if the DDA receives competitive bids and construction materials remain less expensive than they were a year ago.
While most Main Street merchants and property owners have expressed general support for the project, several in the 400 block opposed a reduction of parking spots in that block.
Ham acknowledged the number of spaces in the 400 block will drop from 16 to eight with the reconstruction of Main. But she said a study conducted by the city’s Parking Management Advisory Group showed the Rood Avenue parking garage, the reconstruction of Seventh Street, Colorado Avenue and Main Street and the restriping of Fifth Street will actually add 100 public parking spaces.