Thursday, Dec 12, 2013
Du Quoin Sidewalk Project Moving Quickly
PERRY COUNTY -- Downtown Du Quoin is getting a concrete makeover. The city secured a grant to help spruce up the town's historic district by putting in new sidewalks and trees. That project is now moving along at a fast pace.
Outside the Two Raggedy Sisters shop in Du Quoin, there's been a steady buzz of construction work. Store co-owner, Suzie Gerber, no longer minds the noise.
"Everything is a lot smoother," said Gerber. "Everything is even."
Gerber has run the craft and home boutique since 2003. She's in love with the space on the historic main street district. However, her sidewalk was cracking. The big pear trees also created a mess.
A few weeks ago, crews with a $700,000 improvement project fixed those problems much faster than she expected.
"They had it ripped out one day," said Gerber. "And in three days we had it poured."
Gerber feels the new layout will be a big help to her customers.
"It makes it a lot easier for the parking and people getting in and out of their cars," said Gerber.
The original plan was to do half the sidewalks before the holiday season. Seven weeks into the project, that's already complete. Construction workers are now moving on to the other half.
"It just looks so much cleaner, nicer, and more welcoming," said Du Quoin City Manager Brad Myers.
Myers believes the concrete work was badly needed. A grant is also covering 80 percent of the cost.
"Our sidewalks are old," said Myers. "They've already been torn up one time."
The project timeline had put the completion date in March. The torn-up sidewalks were something Myers knew would be a hassle for downtown stores.
"They've been very cognizant of the business owners and there need to stay open," said Myers.
The stretches of nice weather and faster progress mean crews could be wrapping up this winter.
"With the plans we have in the future, people are just going to love coming through Du Quoin just to see it," said Myers.
The city plans to stop construction during the holiday shopping season. That way it doesn't interfere with shopping.
Main Street will also see another improvement project this spring. The city plans to repave the road.
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Humidity: 67 %