While those who drive, walk or do business in downtown Anoka have been enjoying a newly reconstructed Main Street for a little while, the city of Anoka held a ceremonial ribbon cutting for the project Monday.
Members of the city council and the business community gathered on the city hall plaza late Monday afternoon to celebrate the completion of the six-month, nearly $6 million construction project.
Councilmember Mark Freeburg thanked the business owners for their patience through the past six months of construction.
“It was timely, it had to be done,” said Freeburg. “Now we can reap the hard work.”
Freeburg said reconstructing and tying together East and West Main streets had been a vision of the council and staff for years.
“When government gets involved and we do improvements it encourages people to fix up their properties,” said Freeburg. “We are proud of our merchants who put blood, sweat and tears into their business.”
Since the end of April visitors to Anoka’s downtown, along with those who work or do business in the city, have weathered lane closures and sometimes inconvenient access during the reconstruction of sidewalks and medians.
The project was designed by Kimley-Horn and Associates and carried out by contractor Northwest Asphalt .
Anoka Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Pete Turok said he was surprised at how well the project went.
He credited the city for involving the merchants in the process and keeping everyone informed about what to expect.
“There were lots of meetings, lots of discussions,” said Turok. Those gatherings included work with Rediscover Anoka and the Anoka Business and Landowners Association.
Anoka’s Public Services Director Greg Lee said there were three goals with the Main Street project – to improve the infrastructure, beautify the downtown and most importantly make it a better place to visit.
“We wanted to take this opportunity to look at downtown and the Main Street corridor and change it to attract people to the downtown area to make it a place to be, a place to visit,” said Lee.
The city did this by including pedestrian enhancements in downtown to improve the safety and walkability of the downtown.
“I’ve been doing public improvement projects for 20 years,” Lee said. “By far this is the most important project I’ve done and the most gratifying project I’ve done.”
Mandy Moran Froemming is at email@example.com