Open house on Main Street remodel tonight

Public invited to comment on design options for downtown corridor

The Downtown Development Authority will preview four potential new looks for Main Street during an open house tonight at the Whitman Building, 248 S. Fourth St.

The public is encouraged to examine and comment on the four designs for a remodeled Main Street from 5 to 7 p.m. The scenarios range from updating water lines and removing a few unhealthy trees to making more noticeable changes, DDA spokeswoman Kathy Dirks said. Possibilities include adding more pedestrian space, lighting, artwork and modern technology, according to Dirks.

Changing the main drag’s shape is not a likelihood.

“One of the things we heard from store owners is the serpentine shape of the road is very important,” Dirks said.

Downtown merchants have discussed the renovation project with DDA board members, the city of Grand Junction and designer Ted Ciavonne in four public meetings since March. After tonight’s open house and another this summer,  the project could begin in January and finish up by summer 2010, Dirks said. The schedule is tentative.

The DDA budgeted $3 million for the project, but that number may change depending on how extensive the renovation is. The city will contribute $5,000 to $6,000 for waterline replacements, according to City Engineering Manager Trent Prall.

Despite the poor economy, Dirks said this is the right time for a remodeling project.

The prices of materials used for commercial construction have dropped across the board this year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics.

Prall said the project will go on as tentatively scheduled unless public comments indicate people don’t think this is the right time to reconstruct Main Street and put in new waterlines under the road. So far, he said, he has heard plenty of support from downtown merchants.

Prall said the slow first quarter of the year is an ideal time to get Main Street “spruced up and be ready when the tourists do return.”

The Main Street renovation is the final installment in a three-part remodel of downtown roadways. The first phase reconstructed Seventh Street between Grand Avenue and Colorado Avenue. The second phase involved making changes on Colorado Avenue. A Colorado Avenue ribbon-cutting ceremony will take place Friday.


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