The Concord City Council has approved a dramatic Main Street overhaul. Under the plan, Main Street will be converted from four lanes to a modified three-lane set-up. New lighting, wider sidewalks, more benches, and bike racks are also part of the plan.
A big concern for merchants is the loss of downtown parking. Developer and advisory committee member Steve Duprey says in the end, the city is only losing five parking spaces. And the benefits outweigh the risks.
“Even in this very challenging economic time, Keene and other communities that have redone their Main Streets have seen increases in occupancy, of the stores and offices, and increases in rents and property values,” Duprey says.
The project will cost more than $10 million. A little less than half of that is funded by a US Department of Transportation grant. Duprey says other grants could offset some of the costs. Another possibility could be a special assessment tax district downtown. The goal is to begin construction at the end of September, and be finished in 2015.