Editorial: Be patient, understanding with the city’s sidewalk project; it’s for the best | CraigDailyPress.com

Editorial: Be patient, understanding with the city’s sidewalk project; it’s for the best

Craig Press Editorial Board

Sheli Steele, General Manager

Joshua Carney, Editor

Jennifer Holloway, community member

Take a trip down Yampa Avenue in the 400 and 500 blocks in the next few days and you’ll notice a startling difference immediately: no trees downtown.

On Tuesday, city crews began cutting down the trees along the 400 and 500 block of Yampa Avenue, marking the official start of the 2021 Sidewalk Project, focusing on improvements to the sidewalk, lighting, and landscape in the area.

For many — especially a handful of business owners downtown – the project is an exciting one, seen as a way to continue the revitalization and make Craig and Moffat County more attractive to tourists.

For others though, there’s plenty of concern – and in some cases outrage – with the removal of trees and what downtown, which many say looks like its straight off of a Hallmark card, will look like moving forward.

This is just the start of a roughly 18-month project, so it’s important to practice patience with the city, the workers, and business owners, many of whom will see a significant disruption to their business right away.

While downtown might be chaotic due to the project in the coming months, it’s important to remember why this project was created in the first place: to improve Craig.

Isn’t that what we all want as residents?

The project is going to on spruce up Yampa Avenue, make the long stretch of sidewalks Americans with Disabilities Act compliant, and will provide a welcoming feel to Craig’s historic downtown.

The city of Craig received a grant of more than $308,000, which will cover a significant portion of the project. Though many vocal residents can’t seem to fathom paying for a sidewalk project when there are other more pressing needs in Craig, there is a clear, positive outcome at the end of this project, which should be at the top of everyone’s list.

Our way of life will improve with a downtown that feels much more welcoming and modern. Think about the long-term benefits to this project. It could help attract more downtown events, which could attract more tourists, which will directly impact local businesses throughout Craig. Sure, there will be some pain in the short term, but there’s obvious gain in the long term.

Patience and understanding will go a long ways during this project. For those that want their thoughts heard on the direction of the project, contact your local officials and others involved with the project. Tammie Johannes can be reached at 970-824-4463, or via email at tjohannes@ci.craig.co.us. Trevor Campbell will help oversee the project and can be reached at 970-824-4463.

After all, the whole goal of this sidewalk project is to improve downtown. In the meantime, support these businesses who are still trying to emerge successfully from a pandemic, ask questions of elected officials, be engaged and offer solutions as community members.

Downtown Craig was once a bustling district for shopping, dining and gathering. This project is certainly a step in the right direction of improvement and maybe even a step towards a Mainstreet designation that the Downtown Business Association could pursue.

Stay patient and look to the future where we all can enjoy our new downtown stretch.

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