SPOKANE, Wash. - Downtown Spokane merchants say the city and contractors have recently made a lot of improvements to make it easier for visitors on foot to safely navigate construction.
Business owners say they can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Customers at 24 Taps Burgers and Brews have a front row seat to what some people call "Spokane's construction apocalypse."
However, just outside the sports bar on Friday, we saw a man whose job is flattening out the footing in spots that still missing concrete and asphalt.
"[They are] keeping the side walks cleaner and getting some nice packed in gravel and dirt. Keeping it moist and wet so it's not so dirty for patrons and citizens," said Josh Blair, owner of 24 Taps.
Keeping up with the dust is a constant struggle, but now business owners are getting help from city crews and contractors.
"Just a second ago, the sweeping truck came through, so he goes through several times a day for dust control," said Julie Happy with the City of Spokane. "They also put water down for dust control because it goes into businesses."
Construction has also temporarily disconnected street lights, and now that, regrettably, the sun sets at 6:30 p.m., the contractor has brought in portable generators to push back the darkness.
"I mean, those things are bright," said Teresa Gonder, owner of Tamarack Public House. "I mean, it is well-lit downtown at all the intersections now, which is tremendous, and that lighting also comes down the street on either end, so it gives that security, which is one of the problems I've had from the beginning, because when they took the lighting out people didn't' feel safe."
Gonder finally has some parking back just outside her business, and those meters are free after 5 p.m.
Downtown merchants are also hoping that a change in the weather is going to drive people off of the lakes and rivers and back to more urban entertainment and eateries.
They welcome new, smooth pavement on Lincoln and Monroe Street, they just want to still be in business when the barricades come down.
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