The city of Atchison is taking steps to lessen the inconvenience that Streetscape Project for the 800 block of Commercial Street will cause.
The city was awarded an $850,000 grant for the project which includes sewer separation, roadway reconstruction, drainage upgrades, new sidewalks, curbs and gutters, construction of bulb-outs and the installation of street trees, benches, light poles, bollards and trash receptacles on Commercial Street between Eighth and Ninth streets.
The sewer separation part of the project, though, will cause a closure of the 700 block of Commercial Street for the installation of a stormwater pipe. Justin Pregont, director of public works and utilities, said street and parking access in the 700 block will be restricted for about three weeks.
With the amount of businesses located on the block, the city is aware the project inconveniences potential customers.
“We know this construction is going to cause some negative impact on the businesses in the vicinity of the project,” Pregont told the Globe in an email. “We’re trying to bend over backwards to lessen that negative impact as best we can.”
The 700 block closure is Phase 1 of the streetscape project, which begins in earnest within a week. While street use and parking in the 700 block will be unavailable, the sidewalk will remain accessible. Parking is available on streets and in parking lots near the 700 block of Commercial, like in the 800 block of Commercial and lots on Seventh Street between Commercial Street and Kansas Avenue.
For customers who are unable to park and walk to their desired location, there are two options. A shuttle service will run 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday from the first day construction starts until parking and traffic have been reopened in the 700 block. The shuttles included a covered golf cart and a wheelchair-accessible minivan. Those interested in using the shuttles should park in the southeast corner of the parking lot at Seventh Street and Kansas Avenue.
Drivers of the shuttle will carry cell phones in order to respond to requests for rides:
Van cell: 913-246-2597.
Golf cart cell: 913-246-2595.
At the conclusion of the work on the 700 block of Commercial Street, Phase 2 of the project will begin in the 800 block of Commercial Street, which will close to all traffic. Pregont said pedestrian access will be possible, but because sidewalk reconstruction is part of the project, there will be temporary loss of access to storefronts. Phase 2 is expected to last about three to four months.
“Please make a special effort to get down to the 700/800 blocks of Commercial Street and support those businesses before, during, and after the project,” Pregont said.