News of future Yampa Avenue sidewalk project creates mixed feelings for business owners

The 500 block of Yampa in front of The Find and Cornerstone Realty, as seen on Thursday, Jan. 7. The city of Craig is planning a sidewalk renovation project, slated to start later this year on the 400 and 500 blocks of Yampa. (Joshua Carney / Craig Press)

Some downtown business owners have mixed feelings about the sidewalk reconstruction project along the 400 and 500 blocks of Yampa Avenue.The news that construction would begin on the stretch of downtown was announced on Jan. 6 at a Public Works meeting.

According to Landmark Consultant’s partner, Eric Griepentrog, the project will take most if not all of 2021.

Some business owners worry construction could block off entryways to their business. The effects of diminished foot traffic could hit even harder coming on the heels of the pandemic.

“I am bummed that they’re doing it a summer after we’re recovering from COVID,” Barrel Cathedral Manager Savanna Crow said. “I’m concerned about the park being taken over by construction and contractors and how that might prohibit us from having events in the park this summer.”

The owner of Downtown Books and Coffee, Liane Davis-Kling, welcomes the sidewalk improvements and benefits from access to a backdoor that customers can use to enter the bookstore.

“That would be my business; I cannot speak for other businesses,” she said.

Some business owners questioned the need for such a project. One of those business owners is Kyann Mounts, the owner of Buckaroos Western Wear.

“Honestly, I think it’s fine. I don’t really think it’s necessary to spend the money to redo it when there is stuff there already in place and the trees are fine and the lights are fine,” Mounts said. “So I am not sure why we need to spend money with the city to have it all redone, personally.”

Other business owners, such as Embroidery Shoppe owner Rodney Beason, think it should get done regardless of outside impacts.

“Yeah, do it whenever. That should have zero impact whatsoever on this project,” Beason said.

That opinion was also echoed by Davis-Kling because of the fear of a pedestrian getting hurt on the uneven streets.

“It still is necessary because they have been there for so long and they are starting to fall apart. As the ground shifts, you’re going to have more dips,” Davis-Kling said. “Somebody is going to get into an accident and then you have a lawsuit. … Plus it helps everybody who is a little bit disabled to get around a little bit better.”

In addition to the planned sidewalk improvements on Yampa Avenue, the city is also improving the light poles, which could help improve business once the project is complete, one business owner said.

“I would like to see more lights because at like 5, 6 o clock, it’s dark. More light than what we have. I hope they have that in the projections because if it’s just fixing the sidewalk and leaving like it is,” Renata Beason, the owner of the Embroidery Shoppe said. “It’s not good. I think for downtown to appeal more it needs to be more visible because people are not going home when it’s dark.”