Dan Hust | Democrat
WORK HAS FINALLY begun on the Broadway project in Monticello, but it has brought problems.
Mixed reaction to Broadway project
By Dan Hust
MONTICELLO Broadway in Monticello is currently anything but wide, thanks to work crews and machinery digging it up as part of a long-awaited reconstruction.
Yet despite the fact that Monticello has been waiting for this project for more than a decade, its arrival has been fraught with angry complaints about noise, blocked driveways, and loss of business.
On Monday, Fahs Construction, the state Department of Transportation’s contractor for the project, sent its project manager, Tracey Stamp, to the village board meeting to deal with those concerns.
The result, according to both Stamp and the businessmen who attended, was positive.
“I think it opened up the lines of communication,” Stamp said Wednesday. “I hope people realize we’re not here to hurt them. ... If the business owners aren’t happy, we will adjust.”
Businessmen like podiatrist Marc Hudes, Bagel Bakery owner Bob Fleischman and shoe retailer Jesse Deitchman found that to be the case.
“We talked to her,” Dr. Hudes told board members Monday evening. “There were no bad feelings.”
In particular, they appreciated her promise to install signs indicating businesses and their related driveways and parking spaces are open to customers.
“We’re not here to stop the project,” Deitchman said. “We just want the traffic to flow and places for people to park.”
Mayor Gordon Jenkins and his partner Rochelle Massey, however, accused Broadway merchants of being sore sports.
“Don’t complain just deal with it,” Massey told the businessmen at the meeting.
“You should hear what the [construction] personnel are saying about downtown business owners,” the mayor added, saying he heard the workers felt Monticello was the most difficult municipality they ever worked in. “It’s embarrassing as mayor and it’s embarrassing as being part of this town.”
The businessmen angrily replied that they were complaining now because unanticipated concerns arose from the massive reconstruction project.
“We didn’t know what we were up against until we were in the war,” remarked Fleischman.
Stamp defended them, as well, noting their concerns were no different than in any municipality facing such a project.
“They are not being unreasonable,” she said on Wednesday.
The businessmen complimented Fahs for its handling of their concerns, and they agreed with board members Carmen Rue and Victor Marinello that a shared sacrifice will have to be made to realize a revitalized, beautiful Broadway.
Still, “in order for us to reap the benefits,” pointed out Fleischman, “we have to survive to that point.”
And that may take longer than first thought. Stamp said that while the goal is to finish the project on schedule in 2010, unanticipated problems beneath Broadway may force paving to be finished in 2011. Specifically, work crews have found utility lines aren’t buried where maps indicate, requiring redesigns of drainage and elevation.
In the meantime, Stamp hopes concerns have been resolved but expects more complaints to be lodged.
“When we have to take your sidewalk out, it’s going to be one of those days, and you’re going to hate us,” she acknowledged.
Have a problem? Businesses with questions or concerns can call Broadway Project Manager Tracy Stamp at 607-201-9999