Park Street construction moves along, frustrations mount
ADAMS -- The full force of Park Street's overhaul has hit business owners and commuters, but officials say the project is moving along as planned.
Traffic is slow moving down Park Street as crews have been ripping up sidewalk and road since construction began in July. It's all part of a four-month, $875,000 project -- mostly funded through a state Community Development Block Grant -- that will result in a new sidewalk, repaved road, added bike lanes and multiple measures to improve pedestrian safety on Park Street.
Although the project was designed by town officials months ago, some business owners think it has become more invasive than they had been led to believe, and many have vented their frustration through social media.
"There is a whole lot more going on out there than they ever clued us in on," said AnnMarie Belmonte, co-owner of Izzy's Pizza and Diner on Park Street.
But town officials maintain the project's frustrations were expected, and that it has maintained its course. Out of three complaints to the town from businesses regarding the work, Town Administrator Jonathan Butler said two have already been handled.
"We haven't had anything that has been a shock," Butler said. "We aren't hearing much. We've had a couple of complaints. Mostly we've been able to deal with them directly."
A few weeks into the project, Butler said there has been change order to the scope of work that has resulted in some additional man hours. But surprises are always expected to a certain extent, he said, adding that Park Street hasn't been dug up like this in decades.
Belmonte still feels as though the construction is larger in scope than anticipated on any given day. Wednesdays are normally a busy day, she said, but that wasn't the case this week.
"There is construction at three to four different spots each day," she said. "It's turned into a cluster, so to speak."
In a May interview with The Eagle about the project, Community Development Director Donna Cesan acknowledged there would be disruption, but said that officials were working to minimize the impact as much is possible.
One thing both town officials and business owners agree on, however, is that the project is a necessary makeover for Park Street.
"We understand that it needs to be done," Belmonte said.