Downtown Makeover Gets Thumbs Up from Businesses
TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KLIX) – So far, so good. That’s what people are saying about the downtown renovation project.
News Radio 1310 hit the streets recently to see what business owners and their employees had to say about the first completed section of the five-block Main Avenue project.
The entire project – from Fairfield Street to Jerome Street – is scheduled to be finished in October to coincide with the opening of the new City Hall.
What are people saying about the project?
“I think it’s great,” said Tayler Chapin, store manager of the Brass Monkey. “I think Twin Falls was long overdue for a makeover.”
Construction impacted the business, which sits between Shoshone Street and Gooding Street, but now that the section is complete the store is starting to see an uptick in foot traffic. She expects it will continue to improve as the rest of the downtown project is completed, and she would like eventually to see even more businesses come downtown.
“There are still a lot of vacant buildings down here,” she said, noting that some of the buildings could use some fresh paint and new signs. Without the large shade trees that previously blocked the building fronts, you can see all of their bruises and scars. She thinks business owners will more than likely want to upgrade them to be more appealing.
Across the street at Rudy’s—A Cook’s Paradise, Manager Donna Okarma pointed to a decades-old black-and-white photo of downtown Twin Falls. There are no trees in the photo, but Main Avenue is packed with autos, creating a scene of store activity and busyness. She hopes downtown will once again have that kind of traffic.
“I think it’s wonderful, attractive and safe, and I think it’s going to bring a lot of people downtown,” she said of the current renovation project.
Her store wasn’t impacted by the construction, she said, partly because it has a backdoor that customers used but also because it is a niche store with a large client base. She also said her staff was prepared to handle any potential problems by being proactive in their approach – letting people know the store remained open and that it could easily be accessed at its back.
Okarma said staying positive is good for everyone downtown as the renovation project continues, because though there may be some challenges for some businesses during the construction period, in the end it will be an enticing and inviting place, hopefully attracting more foot traffic.
She wants to see a younger crowd come downtown and more family-oriented events.
Missie Malina, manager of Design 125, said the first completed section looks “fresh and new” and she’s excited that there’s no more “tripping hazards” on the sidewalks, referring to the former sidewalks that in many places had buckled because of age and tree roots.
She said the business was impacted “a little” because of construction, but customers could still access the store and, in the end, having a fresh and inviting Main Avenue was worth any inconvenience the store might have experienced.
Malina said she believes the dividend will be felt for a long time to come, and she’s excited to see more businesses open downtown.
“I think it’s great,” she said.