ROCHESTER - Main Street in downtown Rochester will be closed to traffic until late July. It’s part of a 7.6 million dollar project to re-pave the street, rebuild the sidewalks and upgrade underground utilities. The construction has been taking place for some time but up until today, traffic was still able to travel through downtown. That changed Monday morning at about 7 o’clock. Now instead of cars in front of the various shops that line the street, you see bulldozers and other construction equipment and although it may not look like it, the businesses are still open, even if it’s down.
“When the construction started, we were still going strong, but when they started closing roads up you could see the difference. ”
Tim Brinker owns a popular Rochester eater known as Chomp Deli and he says there's no way around it, This construction project is going to take a bite out of business; some more than others.
“We're down five percent, but I know other people are down 20 percent or more.”
Restaurants have regulars, but businesses that rely on foot traffic are going to take a bigger hit, so to offset that, Rochester's Downtown Development Authority has devised a plan.
"We have left five feet of the sidewalk open and we've also created a pathway for people to walk in the alleys. ”
Brown pathways now connect to the side streets that intersect with main.
Stephanie Schwager says, “We're still having events like we normally would in the summer, in fact we're adding events to get the crowds down here. We want people to know the business are open.”
Business owners admit the dust and construction are going to be a bit of an inconvenience but you have to break a few eggs to make an omelet.
“Once everything is done, it will be beautiful and we know that people will start coming back and coming through town and driving through town,” said Tim Brinker
But in the meantime, he says don't be a stranger. There's still a lot to enjoy in Rochester.
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