Noise, dust and re-routed traffic will be the new normal for the next few months around city hall, but the result will be a new gathering place in downtown Hermiston.
“Sometimes we understand progress is messy, and it’s inconvenient, and so we ask for the community’s patience,” Mayor David Drotzmann said during a groundbreaking ceremony for the city’s planned festival street Monday.
The festival street on Northeast Second Street will extend from Main Street to Gladys Avenue. Gladys and Main are passable during the construction period but lines of cones have shifted traffic farther away from the work area. Construction is expected to continue until Memorial Day.
Clint Spencer, planning director for the city of Hermiston, called the festival street plaza the “cornerstone” of the city’s urban renewal agency. The agency was created in 2013 as a way to feed revenue from increasing property values downtown back into the district for projects that will continue to revitalize downtown.
Money from the Hermiston Urban Renewal Agency has been used for façade grants and other small projects, but much of the revenue is paying for the festival street project. Moreno & Nelson Construction of Walla Walla won the contract for construction with a bid of $857,165.
The project will include placing the street and sidewalk on the same level, decorative brickwork, landscaping, lighting, and removable posts that will be able to block traffic from the area during events.
At Monday’s groundbreaking Drotzmann and Spencer thanked the downtown business owners who had served on a committee to help design and implement the festival street. Drotzmann noted that the idea for the project dated back about 10 years to the time of Mayor Bob Severson.
Spencer said there will be some inconvenience during the construction phase but access to all businesses would be maintained.
“We hope everyone adjusts to the traffic flow soon,” he said.
Contact Jade McDowell at email@example.com or 541-564-4536.