Village streetscape work over… for now
There used to be a big hole in front of Diann Ledall’s store. Now there’s new blacktop, at least for the summer.”We survived… barely, but we survived,” said Ledall, a co-owner of the Kiss the Moon shop on West Gore Creek Drive. While this spring’s Vail Village streetscape work went on outside, Ledall could only watch. While the two-month project put a dent in business, Ledall’s partner, sister Chris Monfort, said the crews were great to work with.”They really stuck to their end of the deal,” Monfort said.Dee Tobin of the Golden Bear said the work crews were “just exceptional,” and even helped get deliveries into the store.With its location on the southeast corner of Bridge Street and Gore Creek Drive, Tobin said the Golden Bear had a pretty good spring despite the massive amount of work going on outside.
And most shops in the construction zone were open through at least some of the two months of work that began April 19. One, Pepi Sports, even had a pretty good spring.”We were able to make lemonade out of these lemons,” manager Robin Lundgaard said. Pepi Sports was able to bring in customers through both its host hotel, Gasthoff Gramshammer, and through an entrance on the west side of the building across from the Children’s Fountain.That’s not to say the gaping holes and roaring machines didn’t have an impact.”It definitely hurt our business, especially at lunch,” Ore House manager Lindsey Troup said. The restaurant’s dinner business was steady, she said, but it was anywhere between difficult and impossible to dine on the deck many days.However, Troup said, most customers were understanding.”Everyone wanted to know what was going on,” she said. “It was livable, for the most part.”
Other business owners just stayed away.Tucked into a corner at the top of Wall Street, Jewels of the West has only been open for about the last week, owner Zia Quraishi said.”There was really no reason to be open,” he said. Coming home to a changed Wall Street, Quraishi said he likes the changes so far.”It’s going to be nice when it’s done,” he said.But the work isn’t done yet. Starting Sept. 7, the day after Labor Day, crews will go back in, tear up the pavement laid down this spring, and lay in the elaborate snowmelt system that will keep the streets clear in the winter.While part of the village was torn up, other business owners have kept a keen eye on the progress, since many of them will face the same challenges next year.
“I have a back door, thank God,” Emata owner Ned Matamasa said. Located just out of the construction zone on West Gore Creek Drive, Matamasa sees what his friends at Kiss the Moon have gone through, knowing he’s next.”This is all necessary, but that doesn’t make it any easier,” he said.Many of his neighbors agree.Dig it
What got done:Utility line replacement on lower Bridge Street, Wall Street, Eaton Plaza and a portion of West Gore Creek Drive. Also, Vendetta’s got a new deck, with public restrooms underneath.What’s next:Starting Sept. 7, lower Bridge and Wall streets will be resurfaced with heated streets. Utility replacement work will take place on Hanson Ranch Road from Seibert Circle to the Mill Creek Court Building.The entire project, to be finished in the fall of 2005, has an estimated price tag of $7 million.
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