SASKATOON – A number of Saskatoon businesses are assuring customers they will remain open throughout a five-month construction project which will close down parts of Broadway Avenue.
“We’re going to amp it up as far as what we’re communicating to the City of Saskatoon that we are still open,” said Carmen Hamm, the owner of UNA Pizza + Wine on Broadway.
Construction on the street began Monday, as crews worked on its northern most blocks. The project will replace water mains that were installed in the early 1900s and resurface one of Saskatoon’s oldest roads.
“I think we’re going to have to work a little bit harder, all the businesses on this street, to be able to put the word out … to get the foot traffic in the way we would in a normal summer,” said Hamm, who opened UNA with her husband in January.
“We’ve got a great street and there are great businesses here and I think people will come.”
Construction is slated to finish in September, barring the weather. The project will move from north to south, eventually closing the street in front of St. John’s Music.
“There might be the misinterpretation that we’ll be closed to an extended period of time, which won’t be the case,” said Keegan Barker, an employee at the music store.
“All of our business owners are committing to regular hours as usual,” reiterated Sarah Marchildon, the Broadway Business Improvement District executive director.
While businesses plan to keep their doors open, some wonder how many people will actually come through them. At UNA, Hamm said she expects foot traffic to be down a bit.
“It’s unfortunate, but we’re so thankful we’ll have new roads by the end of it and it’s going to be a great street,” she said.
For Barker and his fellow employees at St. John’s, the issue may be both the front and back door. The construction will eventually fan out onto the side streets, which could pose an inconvenience since the shop often receives shipments through its back entrance.
“It’s already a tight fit as it as and now it’s going to be a little more convoluted,” said Barker.
“It’s making something that was already difficult much more inconvenient for both the businesses, the couriers.”
However Barker said he understands that the work needs to be done and believes the street will be better because of it.
“Might as well do it now, worry about it 10 or 15 years later,” said Barker.