Rochester to emerge with revamped streetscape
BY KEVIN ROMANCHIK
OU News Bureau
Downtown Rochester will pay homage to the past even as it gets an upgrade.
The $7.6 million Main Street Makeover project is expected to enhance the overall downtown experience by making changes to the look both above and below the street.
The project is a joint effort between the Michigan Department of Transportation, the City of Rochester, and the Rochester Downtown Development Authority.
Main Street has deteriorated during the years because of the heavy volume of traffic. MDOT officials decided reconstruction was the only option.
“The reason that we’re doing (the project) is because the base layer of the road was failing,” said Kristi Trevarrow, DDA director. “It’s not just a temporary fix, but a long-term one.”
Recently uncovered bricks from the original Main Street will be removed and preserved for use in the revamped streetscape.
“The thing about Rochester is that we’ve always embraced our history,” Trevarrow said, adding that reusing the bricks is a “perfect way to incorporate that so when you come downtown there is visual evidence that we value our past and putting in our future.”
Not only will the streets look different, but the work will alter the aesthetics of the downtown, as well. Renovations to the streetscape include benches, LED light poles, water lines and landscaping.
The change comes at a cost, though. The project will be under the knife from April to July, but Main Street Makeover won’t be completely finished until the fall.
Some Rochester citizens aren’t pleased with the coordination of the downtown closings.
“I think it’s very frustrating,” said Shanna Marcelo of Rochester. “It’s impossible to travel down Rochester road at all. I am spending way too much time trying to drive around the construction.”
Combining the Main Street Makeover and closing of Avon, another high traffic street, makes it more difficult for Marcelo and Rochester residents to get around.
According to the DDA, there will also be full closure to traffic from Second to University from mid-May through mid-July. The sidewalks will maintain open along with the parking on surrounding streets.
The potential for local businesses to be affected isn’t something that Main Street Makeover project leaders overlooked.
“The last two years we have been preparing our businesses for this because we know that there will obviously be a drop in business,” Trevarrow said.
The city brought in economic experts to educate city businesses on different ways to maintain profit and offer ideas. Many Rochester businesses also have accessible rear entrances.
The DDA says that once the project is complete, it will be 25 to 30 years before Main Street will require any substantial repairs.
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