The first phase of the downtown streetscape project is set to be ready in time to welcome visitors from all over the world. New street lamps cool the space with white LED lighting at night, trees and plants brighten up the days, and restaurants have stretched their sidewalk cafes to the sidewalk walls that line the streets.
Jason Buehner, owner of The Printing Plant, hopes the temporary struggle businesses faced during construction will be offset when commerce begins to pick back up.
“During the construction time it definitely hurt business because people didn’t want to come downtown because it was a big mess,” he said. “The light at the end of the tunnel is that it should be good for business, because somebody has to take the initiative to get downtown going in the right direction.”
Buehner, who recently expanded his business along South Illinois Avenue, sees this as possible catalyst for stakeholders in downtown to reinvest in their own properties.