Talbot St. has worn a lot of styles - from dirt to brick, to pavement featuring streetcar tracks to ultimately what we have now! The time has come for the work to continue improving both the street and what lies beneath. As our City continues to grow and evolve so must the infrastructure!
Phase three of the Talbot St. Reconstruction continues the work that was completed in the West End in 2018 and will bring the section of Downtown from Mary St. to Ross Street up to the standard set in the west end with incredible railway-themed touches, increased parking, and upgraded light standards - in addition to the necessary work to the replacement of Sewers, Watermain, Utilities below.
During construction, sections of the road will need to be closed to vehicular traffic from March to October to complete the work safely and in a timely manner. Construction will be phased and include tight schedule deadlines and financial penalties to ensure it is completed quickly. Pedestrian access will generally be maintained with minor disruptions. The construction will be completed in two stages beginning in March with an expected completion in October.
For more information regarding this project, full details and plans are available on the City of St. Thomas Website.
For our small business community that calls Talbot St. home, this project is, on the one hand, very welcome. There is an excellent understanding that this is essential work that needs to happen, and better if it is planned than an infrastructure failure. The finished streetscape will also be an incredible upgrade with a fresh look to accent the historic downtown area. However, there is also some genuine and reasonable concern that the construction will impact visitation to their businesses. And that's valid too.
The great words of a classic film, "If you build it, they will come," raises a great argument with the caveat that folks need to KNOW that something has been built so they CAN come. And this is the principle we are going to touch on here. Because yes - your foot traffic is likely to be impacted. So what can you do about it?
Keep your customers in the loop about what to expect.
Stay Positive with your customers, but also be authentic.
Give your customers a reason to visit.
Keep communication up
Make new friends
Don't ignore your financials.
This is an incomplete list - there will be more ideas that surface over the coming months - the key is to remember that you aren't alone, and your neighbours will be experiencing at least one of the same external factors that you are - lean on one another and lean on us too.