Spokane considers ramping up Monroe Street construction

Spokane considers ramping up Monroe Street construction

Construction on Monroe Street in Spokane has been in the works for a month and now there’s a chance some businesses could have to deal with orange cones and blocked streets earlier than expected.

The City of Spokane is considering a change that would speed up the construction schedule from Montgomery Avenue to Northwest Boulevard that would put crews in front of about 20 businesses two months earlier than expected.

City spokesperson Marlene Feist said the contractor working on half of the street, Murphy Bros., worked through phase one of its project earlier than expected. Now, crews are available to begin on phase two a few months early. Feist said earlier construction would bring about an earlier end date — by at least three weeks.

“There’s a tradeoff here,” Feist said. “You’d have construction outside your business for longer in this section but the overall project should get done earlier.”

Jill Leonetti owns Prohibition Gastropub and is against the proposed schedule change.

“We’re hoping it doesn’t happen,” said Jill Leonetti, who owns Prohibition Gastropub. “This is probably the most difficult thing we’ve faced since we’ve been open.”

Leonetti said she’s been bracing herself for July — the date she was expecting to see crews outside her restaurant.

“It was a shock to me,” Leonetti said.

She said the project has already proven to be tough on her business, but that it’s been even worse for businesses in the construction zone.

“Other restaurants have told us, $100 lunches, down from maybe $800, $900 lunches. I mean that’s a huge change,” Leonetti said. “That could result in job loss and reduction in hours for folks. This is a big deal for people.”

Leonetti said she’s made her opinions clear to the city and hopes Murphy Bros. sticks to the schedule.

“There’s jobs on the line here. There’s single moms and single dads that work for me. These people might be the sole income earner for their family,” Leonetti said. “Please don’t shut us down early. Please stick to the contract.”

The contractor will receive an incentive if it finishes ahead of schedule, which concerns Leonetti. Feist said the existing incentive plan would not roll over into the new construction plan.

Feist said business owners like Leonetti in the block from Montgomery Avenue to Northwest Boulevard would have the most weight in the decision. She said the city will review input from all business and property owners on Monroe Street on Monday.