City pushes downtown project until Sept.

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SANDPOINT — With the third consecutive year of construction downtown coming up in 2019, business owners have a lot of concerns about potential impacts.

“There is just a slew of concerns there,” said Sandpoint Public Works director Amanda Wilson. “... And all of that came down to a single bottom line, which is potentially lost profits during their peak season between May and September.”

Wilson said city officials heard those concerns, and as such, pushed the second phase of the downtown revitalization project back until after Labor Day, rather than starting in the spring and working through summer.

Wilson and other city staff held a meeting last month to talk with business owners about their concerns and the updated schedule for the work. About 50 business owners attended the meeting at the Little Panida Theater, Wilson told City Council on Wednesday.

“This wasn’t a meeting with the businesses to get feedback about design, it was really just about potential impacts regarding construction to their businesses,” Wilson said.

The second phase will ultimately mirror the first phase, replacing sidewalks, lighting, benches, bike racks, trash receptacles and trees along First Avenue. The scope of the project has been reduced to allow for the change in schedule, however, and will continue from Cedar Street at Second Avenue, around the corner to First, but rather than going all the way to Bridge Street as was the initial plan, it will end just north of Church Street. Also, Wilson said rather than tearing everything out storefront to storefront as was the case on Cedar, crews will work curb to curb, including utilities and asphalt, with completion scheduled for Oct. 31, 2019. They will then move to the sidewalks with expected completion by Nov. 26 of next year. The sidewalks may not be fully replaced at that time, though, Wilson said, depending on the weather. Crews will have the option to leave the existing sidewalks in place or put in asphalt rather than concrete, she said, as long as it is a hard surface for winter snow removal.

“If we have a decent winter, and they have the resources available, then they could go ahead and actually place the new sidewalk,” Wilson said.

All of the architectural features are expected to be installed the following spring, with all work completed by June 1, 2020.

Mary Malone can be reached by email at mmalone@bonnercountydailybee.com and follow her on Twitter @MaryDailyBee.

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