August 29, 2014 7:20 pm

Streetscaping Central Avenue negative and positive

Watch above: Streetscaping project causes concern among businesses

SASKATOON – The City of Saskatoon has undertaken a large streetscaping project in Sutherland. The neighbourhood is over a century old and is in need of a facelift but there’s a major downside as shops along Central Avenue deal with a loss of business.

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Ryan Paproski, who manages O’Brian’s Sales and Leasing on Central, said with the front street fenced off, customers either think the business is closed or don’t want to deal with finding a way in through a back alley.

According to Paproski, the city’s streetscaping has had a financial impact of an estimated $100,000.

“Yes they’re fixing a lot of potholes and they’re going to make it nice and pretty but when push comes to shove, how’s that going to translate into dollars for local businesses,” said Paproski.

According to Lesley Anderson, the city’s neighbourhood planning manager, once streetscaping is complete, more people will come to the area. More people means more business and Anderson hopes the inconvenience to businesses pays off.

The back alley of Central Avenue has a number of signs posted, letting customers know that regardless of the construction, they’re still open. Two blocks are affected by the streetscaping.

“The area that’s currently blocked, that will shift around a bit because we do one side at a time so that the detour is not as bad,” said Anderson.

Business owners suggested the crew work longer days to minimize the impact.  The city says it is something to consider for future projects but warns it would add to the cost of streetscaping. One block of streetscaping averages $1.5 million.

Once complete, the street will have sidewalk furniture, trees, new light fixtures and public art. The work is expected to be complete by the end of September.

3rd Avenue from 19th to 22nd and 20th Street from Avenue E tp Avenue F are the most recent streetscaping projects. Idylwyld is next on the list, according to Anderson.

Streetscaping is funded through parking meter revenues and the sale of residential lots.

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