Main Street makeover proposes elimination of block of parking
A proposal for a $3 million revamping of a four-block stretch of Main Street calls for eliminating parking in the 400 block.
Officials with the Downtown Development Authority and the Downtown Partnership say large parking areas on adjacent streets will make up for the reduction in parking spots on Main Street and that the change would create more room for pedestrian amenities.
But a Grand Junction City Council member who owns a business in that block is expressing reservations about the possibility of eliminating parking, saying it could be detrimental to retail stores there.
The public will have an opportunity to review and comment on the design tonight at the American National Bank Farmers Market.
“We’re encouraging as many people as possible to come out and take a look at what this new face for Main Street could be,” said Kathy Dirks, marketing director for the Downtown Partnership.
Stakeholders are proposing basic improvements in all four blocks of Main Street, including a concrete street surface, tree replacement and more pedestrian space. The greatest change would come in the 400 block of Main, according to the conceptual design.
On-street parking would be discarded in favor of increased room for pedestrian amenities such as outdoor dining and seating, shaded areas, fountains, landscaping and sculptures,
Dirks said. The block would still be accessible to cars and still contain drop-off areas.
Dirks said that block was targeted in the preliminary design because of the large parking lot in the 400 block of Colorado Avenue and the soon-to-be-built breezeway that will connect the Rood Avenue parking garage with the 400 block of Main.
She said the design best represents comments downtown officials have heard thus far from Main Street merchants and property owners and the public.
But Councilman Gregg Palmer, who owns Brown’s Shoe Fit at 425 Main St., said reduced parking could take customers away from businesses. He said he’s also concerned that a possible pavilion or stage that could be included in the 400 block could be the magnet for all downtown events and entertainment, drawing people away from other areas of Main Street.
“I’m not sure that’s fair to other merchants,” he said.
Palmer said he’s supportive of sprucing up Main Street but doesn’t want it to hurt businesses.
“Downtown has to first and foremost be a retail center. It has to be a commercial success,” he said. “If it’s a great place to go and all the buildings are closed, it will never succeed.”
Dirks emphasized that plans aren’t finalized and that there is still an opportunity for the public to have a hand in what is built.
People can also view the proposed design on the Downtown Partnership’s Web site, http://www.downtowngj.org, beginning Friday night.
Dirks said construction should begin in January and finish by next summer.