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Chautauqua Ave. Project In Lakewood Nears Completion

Pictured is Chautauqua Avenue in the village of Lakewood. Mayor Randy Holcomb said the construction, part of a retrofit project, is more than 80% completed. P-J photo by Katrina Fuller

LAKEWOOD — The Chautauqua Avenue Green Street Retrofit Project is close to completion, Lakewood Mayor Randy Holcomb said.

Holcomb said the project was slated to be completed in June but had fallen behind and will now be completed in the fall. After a meeting this week regarding the construction project, he said he is happy to report the project is 82% completed.

“There are three intersections, and all three intersections are going to be stonework that are all in place because this is a retrofit project to help put less (sediments) into the lake,” Holcomb said. “It also was a decorative part for our village Main Street, and it is going to look beautiful. We’ve been very discouraged because of the timeframe, but we see the end in sight. This morning, they talked about paving and that’s one of the last things to be done.”

Holcomb said the village has not met with every business owner on the street directly but understands how frustrating the process has been due to the hold-up on completion.

“I know it’s very difficult for some and extremely difficult for others, and we’re trying our best to get this completed soon,” he said. “We all are just ready to see when the blacktop goes down, which they’re talking about dates, that’s going to be huge. It’s going to be great and we apologize for the delays, but it will be worth it.”

Holcomb said the project is managed by Barton and Loguidice and has been undertaken by Kingsview Paving. He said he holds regular meetings each Tuesday for updates including representatives from both Kingsview and Barton and Loguidice.

Bob Lingle, owner of Off The Beaten Path Bookstore, 124 Chautauqua Ave., said the construction has taken longer than previously expected, but his business is still going strong. Recently, Lingle said construction work had been going on in front of the business, but the workers putting the pavers for the sidewalk worked quickly.

“We’re approaching normal, but the street is very dug up,” he said.

Lingle said the business has instituted some online programing through social media, including virtual author events. The online events began due to the pandemic.

“That has been one thing we’ve done to connect with our customers, and even connect with our customers that are really our summer people because the virtual events can be accessed anywhere,” he said. “Throughout the summer, it was at a place where we felt comfortable hosting in-person book signings. I made an effort every Saturday throughout the summer to have a book signing offered, and that definitely helped giving people a reason to come into the store.”

Lingle said those who are interested in upcoming events can visit their website or their Facebook page for more information. For those looking to visit the shop, he said there is parking available around the Chautauqua Avenue area that allows for easier access to the building.

“One thing that has kind of been nice it has forced people not to just park in front of the business they want to go to, but they park on a side street or a parking lot on the street and they can walk up and down. I think a lot of businesses are experiencing a downtick in traffic, but some are getting cross-traffic they wouldn’t have had otherwise,” he said. “It is a nice village to walk through, and there are places to park even though the street isn’t the prettiest thing to look at right now.”

Lingle said he wished there was more communication from the village on what local businesses could expect regarding the project.

“It’s just a lot of business owners getting information from each other,” he said, adding that it was difficult to ascertain the status of the project from these lines of communication.

Samuel Whitmore, owner of Bag and String Wine Merchants, 110 Chautauqua Ave., said his business has been in “decent shape” throughout the construction project.

“A big part of it is that we do a lot of online business, so we don’t rely 100% on foot traffic,” Whitmore said. “We also accommodate our regular, local customers with local delivery and curbside pick-up. We’ve just adapted so a lot of the curbside pick-up has been in the back alleyway.”

He said Chautauqua Avenue will be beautiful once the project is completed. He noted that the completed sections are already “look really terrific.”

“I also try to take the long view that once it is complete, it is going to look so great, and I think it will add a lot of value to the downtown shopping experience,” Whitmore said.

Joyce Rothleder, the owner of Ryders Cup Coffee, 28 Chautauqua Ave., said the project hasn’t impacted her business much.

“When they first closed the road to do the millings, everyone just parked at the end of the street and walked up,” Rothleder said. “Ever since then, when the intersection was closed, people just drove around and came up this side. I’ve been very busy this summer — it’s been great.”

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