This summer’s Third Street renovation project will create a more visually cohesive downtown, city officials say.
When the project wraps up Third Street will look more like Second Street, with bike racks, benches and historic street lights. There will be bumpouts by the crosswalks – bumpouts are the protrusions at Second Street’s crosswalks, each replete with a tree.
Not only will the street improve visually, it will become six feet wider, which should alleviate the occasionally nerve-racking moments when two large vehicles have to drive pass each other while parking is full. Most importantly, the renovation will include new water and sewer lines.
Despite the fresh look, one local businesswoman has concerns that the renovated street could have some downsides for downtown businesses. This-N-That Owner Stacey Poppinga said at Monday’s city council meeting that she worries a decrease in the number of parking spots could negatively impact the number of customers coming through her doors.
“To have a thriving downtown you have to have customers,” Poppinga said.
The current renovation plan would reduce the number of parking spaces on Third Street from 60 to 46.
Poppinga described the renovation as “totally needed,” but said the city should take a hard look before reducing parking. She pointed out that her customers already comment frequently on the lack of available parking on Third Street.
“You can’t add (parking), but I don’t think we should be taking (parking) away,” she said.
Poppinga noted that a lot of the spaces are taken up by employees of businesses on the street.
“While I think it’s awesome to bring in nature, and bring in curbs and have a more aesthetic look to things, I think we have to look at practicality first,” Poppinga said.
City of Douglas Public Works Director John Harbarger said that public works will look into parking space concerns, and noted that the final design is “not set in stone.”
“She’s right, we will lose space,” Harbarger said.
The city will hold a public meeting on the project before making final design decision.