The North Monroe Street Project has reached its halfway point, a milestone celebrated by city officials during a Friday gathering at the Emerson-Garfield Farmers Market.
Marlene Feist, director of strategic development for the Public Works and Utilities Department, said the two companies the city hired for the project were both ahead of timeline estimates for the first phase of the project. The Murphy Brothers completed the south half of the project Thursday, and Red Diamond Construction, Inc., was on track to complete half of their portion, the north section, Monday.
“We don’t like to ever over-promise,” Feist said. “But this has all been very encouraging.”
The project, which will reduce the number of lanes from four to two, restricted access to a number of businesses on the North Monroe Street stretch sparking complaints and a $15 million tort claim from a local business association.
City Councilwoman Karen Stratton said the city has been working with local businesses to do their own renovations, and has hired a marketing and communication team to help businesses communicate detour information with customers during construction.
Stratton said the city has also tried to work with businesses to make the project “worth their while” by financially assisting their efforts to renovate storefronts, parking and lighting, making a small business loan agent available and having a project manager on sight daily for questions.
Gina Campbell, owner of local business 1889 Salvageco and communications director for the North Monroe Business District, said a lot of the businesses in the area have been affected by the construction, but the culture of community in the area has also helped to offset any potential losses.
She said the construction has impacted her own business, but she also had a plan in place ahead of time to address the reduction in storefront traffic.
“We’re really excited for the project to be over,” she said.“I think my business will be really positively affected. Also, I’m thrilled that they’re ahead of schedule.”