Columbiana streets open Merchants, residents pleased with look of downtown

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 23, 2004

This past Saturday the barricades were removed, and on the order of Columbiana Mayor Allan Lowe, Main Street and College Street were open to traffic for the first time since they were closed for downtown renovation.

The intersection of College Street and Main Street had been closed since January.

And with Main Street under excavation for the relocation of utilities, new sidewalks and pavement since Aug. 12, traffic was forced to make a detour around downtown as work on the $1.8 million renovation project continued.

While some merchants complained over the loss of walk-in traffic during the time the sidewalks and streets were out of commission, the reviews from Main Street

merchants were positive following Saturday’s reopening in connection with the completion of sidewalks and landscaping.

&uot;They’re beautiful. I’m excited about traffic. It was nice to hear the sound of cars. We had a pretty good day Saturday. There was a lot of walk-in traffic Saturday,&uot; said Shawn Lipscomb of the Punkin Patch.

&uot;Everything seems to be opened back up. It’s so bright and cheerful and everyone seems to have a smile on their face now,&uot; said Gail Coleman of Gail’s Florist.

She also said she heard others

say, &uot;It seems the streets are brighter now.&uot;

&uot;Being used to traffic flowing in the front door instead of the back, it’s just brighter now,&uot; Coleman said.

Benard Tamburello, owner of Bernie’s on Main, agreed.

&uot;It’s had a positive effect on business. It is wonderful to see cars driving up and down the street now, and I’m just proud to be alive,&uot; Tamburello said.

He also said he received comments from people coming into the restaurant about how beautiful the streets look and will look when they’re (entirely) finished.

Tamburello said of past construction hardships, &uot;I think the problem was everyone felt isolated and couldn’t get out.&uot;

He likened the situation to ants who didn’t know what to do when a leaf fell in the road.

&uot;I’ve had customers all morning long and all afternoon,&uot; said Marie Cox, who owns Columbiana Jewelers along with her husband Travis.

&uot;I think it’s absolutely beautiful. The bricks come from the curb up to our door. It adds a lot to our corner.

&uot;And when the crepe myrtles are in bloom, it’s going to be gorgeous.&uot;

Columbiana Councilmember Tom Seale said the downtown renovation project is &uot;on schedule.&uot;

He said a celebration for the completion of the project is planned for Friday, June 25, in conjunction with the city’s annual Liberty Day celebration