The contractor doing phase 2 of the revitalization work in downtown Belleville had some advice on how to speed up the project, and city staff and council agree.
The biggest change in the construction plan by Len Corcoran Excavating involves switching work on Front Street, from Victoria to Campbell streets, from the last part of Phase 2 to the first part.
The company maintains the project will get done a month earlier that way, by the end of September or early November.
Front Street between Victoria and Campbell could be shut down as early as this Monday.
Mark Fluhrer, Belleville’s Recreation, Culture, and Community Services Director, says the stretch of Front between Victoria and Campbell is by far the most complex, and doing concrete work in late fall is a risky business.
Meanwhile, at a meeting of the Mayor’s Implementation Team this morning (Tuesday), Councillor Jack Miller said he could see the advantages of finishing the project sooner, but said merchants between Victoria and Campbell had been told months ago that their stretch of Front would be open for the summer.
Miller hopes the street closure can be delayed at least for a week or two, but it’s not clear if that will happen.
Councillor Kelly McCaw also had concerns about the lack of notice given to businesses about the change, but agreed finishing sooner than later was a positive.
Build Belleville’s Elisha Purchase says she’ll finish telling all of the affected businesses about the change today. Purchase says access to the Riverside parking lot will be open throughout construction and that there will always be pedestrian access.
She stressed that there will be help for businesses struggling during the construction.
Former downtown Belleville retailer Richard Courneyea suggested city council could ease the pain by waiving the interest charged on loans being made available by Trenval to businesses needing some help to get through the construction period.
The loans can go as high as $20,000.
Phase 2 encompasses Front Street to Bridge Street, and includes work on Campbell St. and Victoria Ave.
Meanwhile, there is a public information meeting tomorrow (Wednesday) night about Phase 2 running, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Build Belleville offices on Pinnacle Street.