Detour concerns stores

Plans to replace an aging water main along 54th Street is generating concerns among business owners there.

Plans to replace an aging water main along 54th Street is generating concerns among business owners there.

The City of Red Deer is preparing to excavate the one-way street so that it can replace a nearly 90-year-old water line.

An alternative source of water will be provided to affected property owners during the approximately one month of construction and a testing period thereafter, said Environmental Services Department construction and maintenance superintendent Ron Wardner. But the narrow street will have to be closed, with traffic expected to be detoured from Aug. 10 to Sept. 4.

That’s a worry to the businesses operating between 48th and 49th streets: Merry Maids, A Second Touch of Class, Dutchess Manor Retreat, Avenida 54 hair salon and spa, and Otherlands Imports.

Karen Hobbs, who owns A Second Touch of Class, said the businesses have been advising their customers about the road closure.

They also plans to erect signs at both ends of the street to let people know the businesses can be reached from the rear alley.

“Most of the businesses will be accessible from the back alley between 53rd and 54th Street,” confirmed Dutchess Manor Retreat owner Susan Uiterwijk.

But it’s important people realize the businesses there are still open, she said.

Hobbs is concerned about increased traffic in the already busy alley south of 54th Street. But she said Wardner has offered assurances the city will do what it can to address problems.

For Pamela Hurry, owner of Avenida 54, the loss of parking for clients is her biggest concern. In addition to the half-dozen staff members working there, a steady stream of customers need space for parking.

The business owners acknowledge that the work is necessary.

In addition to the age of the existing waterline, said Wardner, the city is trying to remove lead materials from its water system.

He said city crews will do everything they can to minimize the disruption to residents and businesses. This might include arrangements for alternate parking nearby.

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