MARQUETTE- With many construction projects this summer in downtown Ishpeming, concerns over access have risen among some business owners.
Partridge Creek reconstruction, Negaunee sewer-water connection and streetscape projects are all under way this summer in Ishpeming. Streets being affected by these projects include Division Street, Lake Street, Hematite Drive and Main Street. The construction is scheduled to be completed by November.
Josefa Andriacchi, owner of Andriacchi’s, said she is seeing fewer customers since construction began. Andriacchi’s is located on West Division Street, just west of Lake Street.
“I understand that the construction has to be done and I understand all of the reasons for it,” Andriacchi said. “At the corner of Division and Lake there is a sign that says ‘Road Closed’ and people think that they can’t come up three buildings to my business and that’s bad.”
There are three road signs that indicate a closed road along West Division Street. There is one at Fourth Street, one at Pine Street and one at Lake Street.
“With the way the detour is on M-28 right now it will definitely interfere with tourist traffic because tourists will be directed to Fourth from Division and have no idea where to go,” Andriacchi said.
Andriacchi said she just wants people to know they can still get to the downtown businesses.
“It may be a little more difficult to get to us, but we are still here and we are still working,” she said.
Director of the Department of Public Works Jon Kangas said he understands it’s always a concern for business owners when infrastructure projects impact the accessibility of their businesses but, unfortunately, is necessary.
“The infrastructure has to be replaced at some point and it will affect the businesses, but there’s not much you can do about that,” Kangas said.
Kangas said he believes the city has gone above and beyond in trying to get people downtown. According to Kangas, the biggest issue right now is the primary intersection – Lakeshore and Hematite – which is still closed. Until that opens, it’s going to be an inconvenience.
“There’s still plenty of ways to get to the downtown businesses,” he said. “If the customers just follow the detour out on the highway into town, there aren’t really any issues other than the businesses along the construction route, which right now is very few.”
Kangas said if anyone has concerns or questions about detours or construction they can contact him at the DPW at 486-9371.
Adelle Whitefoot can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 243. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org