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Monroe Main Street: Work, and Market, reasons to visit Square
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Streetscape is off to a great start. Over the past month, city crews removed the inner meters just ahead of E & N Hughes' work installing the new water main. The line is live; state tested and was completed ahead of schedule and under budget. (Makes me wish I had contracted this firm to build my four seasons room seven years ago.)

The top priority in the planning and throughout this project is maintaining traffic flow and pedestrian access for downtown business activity. Digging a trench through concrete, and in some areas bedrock, to install a line in the middle of the traffic lanes obviously is a disruptive process, but was accomplished with minimal obstruction of traffic and most certainly with style. This month the major Streetscape work will begin, and the update for April is appearing a bit later than normal to be able to share "the rest of the story."

I am very pleased that the Monroe City Council has awarded E & N Hughes the contract as general contractor for the next three phases of the Streetscape construction. It certainly is expected they will select local companies as subcontractors to the degree possible. So, not only will people we know and who are familiar with our historic Square conduct this major downtown project, but the income is sure to be recirculated within our community, as well.

With the bid awarded, it will take a week or more to line up materials and communicate plans. The first stage of Phase One will be conducted at the northeast corner of the Square. The outer lanes of 17th Avenue and 10th Street will be closed from mid block on the Square and initially to the alleys just off the Square. Phase One consists of utility work at curbside, installing water laterals to the buildings, filling the coal bins and replacing sidewalks. This initial phase is likely to reveal some interesting relics that have been buried under the sidewalk. It's been 60 years since most of the area has been exposed. I invite you to come down and watch the project as it proceeds.

Another reason to visit the downtown is to enjoy the Main Street Market on the Square, which opens Wednesday, May 13. Hours for enjoying locally grown farm fresh produce, fresh eggs, jams, jellies, bakery, meats and more are Wednesdays from 2 to 5:30 p.m. and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Luanna Parr, market manager, has informed me we have some exciting new vendors this year, but there always is room for more.

For information on participating, you may reach her at (608) 325-2557. A complete Market Registration Packet is available to download from the "Publications" link on Our Web site will continue to provide updated information on the Streetscape work and traffic patterns. Just click on "Downtown Traffic Info," or better yet, bring a folding chair down and watch the show!

- Barb Nelson is director of Monroe Main Street. She writes a monthly update on the organization for the Monroe Times. She can be reached at 328-4023.