Construction workers have recently fenced off the Third Street North area near the Downtown Mall and construction is ready to begin on the pedestrian mall’s expansion up the side street near the Paramount Theater.

Workers begin process of re-bricking and landscaping Third Street

Jim Tolbert, director of Neighborhood Development Services, said this project is a “long range plan to extend the mall to its side streets.”  Workers will lay brick and add landscaping so that both businesses and pedestrians can make better use of the area.  After construction is completed in September, vendors delivering to businesses along the street will only be able to load and unload until 11 AM, after which Third Street will be closed off to all vehicles.  The streetscape project has recently completed work on Fifth Street, and there are future plans to take on Second Street next, followed by the re-bricking of the entire Downtown Mall.  Tolbert said funding for this project is coming from the capital improvement budget.

Tenants along the Third Street stretch from East Market Street to the Downtown Mall have mixed feelings about the project.

Tee-Tee and Gail Jackson, two stylists from the Jackson II Body & Soul Salon, believe that the construction will hurt their business, and they are not happy about the situation.  Third Street had just been fenced off while the Paramount Theater was being renovated, making this the second time in less than two years that Third Street businesses have had to deal with construction going on outside.

Tee-Tee and Gail both said they are frustrated by all the dust and dirt being tracked into their salon, and they had hardly enough time to clean up the mess from last time.  They fear that only their regular clients will know about their salon, and it will be more difficult to gain new ones.  They also believe that there could have been better negotiations with the businesses along Third Street.

Third Street is fenced off from the Downtown Mall to East Market Street

Right next door, at Nail Secrets, Shirley Barrett said she is not happy with the construction either and feels that her workplace may lose some business during the construction.  She stated that this whole process has taken much longer than she anticipated.  However, Barret said she will be pleased with the street’s makeover.

Across the way Brice Cunningham of the popular French restaurant, Fleurie, said he believes this project will make the street much more pleasant for everyone.

“It is too bad they didn’t do this earlier” says Cunningham.  When asked if he felt the construction would affect the number of people coming into dine at his restaurant, he replied that business in summertime is always slow, and this is the perfect time for work to be done.  He just hopes that the process does not go past the intended mid-September finish date.

Will Faulconer


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