BRIGHTON, Michigan — Nick Manist is a little nervous about knowing what’s in store for his new business, Captains on Mine, when a nearly year-long streetscape project kicks off in downtown Brighton. It is
Mannisto opened a brick-and-mortar pizza and coffee shop at 423 West Main Street in September and soon learned of the project to completely transform the downtown area.
“As a new business owner, getting your name out there and closing roads for a year is much harder,” he said. “(It’s) going to be tough for small town businesses. Coming out of COVID and then into this is a little rough for everyone.”
Led by the city’s Downtown Development Authority, the approximately $6.5 million City of Brighton Streetscapes project aims to modernize downtown’s roads, sidewalks and infrastructure, bringing many enhancements to the city. The project will affect Main Street between Grand River Avenue and First Street and Grand River Avenue between St. Paul and North Street.
The Water Main Project kicked off Monday, January 9, on Main Street from Grand River Avenue to South 2nd Avenue, replacing a 100-year-old water pipe. Intermittent lane closures and diversions will remain in effect until completion of work at the end of March.
DDA Chairman Tim Corrigan said the streetscape improvements are expected to begin in April after the water main project and be finished by November at the latest. This includes large sidewalks that comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, modernized LED lighting, bike parking, improved landscaping, and small roads that maintain street parking.
The city is working with civil engineering and community planning firm Giffels Webster on this redesign.
“Public safety is the first factor in ensuring we are fully ADA compliant, making downtown a friendly and safe environment for everyone to visit, shop and enjoy.” said Corrigan. “It’s also kind of a modernization effort.”
The project hopes to revitalize the city economically by bringing new customers to existing businesses as well as bringing business to the area.
Local companies participate
Toni Reese, owner of Running Lab, sells running gear, and her business in downtown Brighton is more of a ‘destination’ location, so she sees no problem during construction. said.
But Reese said he can understand how the next few months could be problematic for other businesses that rely on visiting guests.
“It may be difficult for others not having an easy way to get to downtown Brighton and having to deal with detours and parking constraints,” she said. For Running Lab, it’s kind of a wait-and-see for now.”
Anyone who talks to local businesses will see a “strong mix” of concern and optimism about the project, Reese said.
“I think a lot of it has to do with where you are and whether you have a back door entrance, in addition to the construction timeline,” she said.
How customers will access their businesses when sidewalk construction begins is a big concern among business owners, Reese said. City officials will work with contractors to ensure access is maintained for all businesses, Corrigan said.
Another impact of this project will be the annual downtown event. Corrigan said, “It’s up to event organizers (and) the city to continue working with event applicants on this topic to see if they can base their events elsewhere in the city.”
The City of Brighton has “open communication” with companies regarding projects, including hosting various conferences.
“I look forward to the beautification of downtown (and) to being able to make it more accessible to all,” Reese said. It’s pretty outdated with pedestrian crossings, etc. Downtown safety and comfort is great and should bring back pedestrian traffic.”
Mannisto and Reese said that to survive the closures required for the project, businesses in downtown Brighton will need to work together to support each other, including advertising, promotions, or even selling merchandise on behalf of other stores. I agree with you.
“[This project]has to communicate more, so I think it definitely brings us together,” Reese said. “I think we can bond more[and]we’re going to see a lot more cross-promotion.”
Background and Future of the Brighton Cityscape Project
Corrigan said the streetscape project has been underway since 2018, when the city of Brighton began researching what needs to be done, and the last time this part of downtown was improved was about 25 years ago. .
The project was developed and approved by the DDA and approved by Brighton City Council. The final design plan he approved in September.
Information on other road closures and construction during the project will be provided on the city’s website. For the latest information on the project, please visit the City of Brighton website or the Giffels-Webster website.
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