Roadwork OK with merchants
Work began in east Avon at the end of April, and an idea of what the final product will look like can be seen at the new intersection – with brick crosswalks – between Wal-Mart and Radio Shack on East Benchmark Road.
“It’s certainly hurting business, but I think the final project as I see it over by Wal-Mart looks nice,” Venture Sports co-owner Mark Weinreich says. “What they’re doing is certainly something that’s very necessary. I think it will be a good improvement.”
East Benchmark Road, Beaver Creek Place and Chapel Place will all be repaved during the $2.9 million project. Sidewalks also will be installed, lighting improved and landscaping spruced up, among other upgrades. The work is scheduled to be complete by Oct. 22, Avon Town Engineer Norm Wood says.
Benchmark Road will be slightly realigned and better delineated, Wood says.
“It’s a street that goes through parking lots. The purpose is to truly make a street out of it with defined entrances,” Wood says. “It should result in a major improvement in circulation on that side of town and make it much more attractive and make it easier for pedestrians to move around.”
The streets have been dusty, but Beaver Liquors co-owner David Courtney says his customers haven’t been scared off.
“It’s a pain and it’s dusty, but it really doesn’t bug me because it’s all for the better,” Courtney says.
If the work goes according to plan, Avon will attract more visitors in the future, Courtney says.
“With a sidewalk around our village and park benches, it’s gonna make Beaver Creek more of a destination,” he says. “People will know they can come down to a normal town, because not everybody can afford to shop in those boutiques up at Beaver Creek.”
Paving should begin this week on both the parking lot at the Benchmark Building and on the road between it and the so-called Boat Building. Chapel Place and Beaver Creek Place should be paved within the next two to three weeks, Wood says.
Curbs and gutters should be installed on those two streets this week, he says.
“We still have some tricky areas, like the intersection of Beaver Creek Place and Benchmark Road,” Wood says. “But as quick as they can get the curbs and gutters in, they will be paving.”
Many merchants seem to agree the hassle of construction is worth making the town easier to get around.
“There’s never a good time for construction, but we need sidewalks so that people can get around this town,” Weinreich says. “If it could be limited to one month that would be great, but obviously it’s a good undertaking.”
Some of his store’s merchandise has been sacrificed to the cause, Weinreich says.
“We’re losing some merchandise to the dust problem. A lot of the buildings aren’t air-conditioned, so you have to keep the doors open and dust comes in and lays down on the merchandise,” he says. “You’ll can only dust something off so many times before you call it trashed.”
Avon Town Manager Bill Efting says shoppers, merchants and strollers will all be happy with the improvements.
“As hard as the project has been this summer, when it’s complete it’s really going to add to the east end of Avon,” Efting says. “What guests, citizens and business owners are going to see is a better pedestrian route, better landscaping and a better road network.”
The town hopes the road work can be finished before the scheduled Oct. 22 completion date, Wood says.
“We’re doing everything we can to try get this pushed up and get an earlier completion,” Wood says. “We hope that we’ll get a request for additional funding from the contractor because there’s an incentive for an early finish.”
Matt Zalaznick can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 606, or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.