Thursday, April 17, 2008

Don't Abandon Your Downtown

Don’t let the big holes in sidewalk fool you. Downtown Elgin is open for business.

Streetscape construction is well underway on Chicago Street. And though business owners are excited about how beautiful and pedestrian-friendly their new and improved street will soon become, they are also a little nervous. And understandably so.

The construction workers are doing a great job in trying to maintain pedestrian access to the businesses. But, construction in and of itself is a deterrent for many people.

Loud machines, flying dust and rubble underfoot, not to mention limited on-street parking, closed traffic lanes and cranky drivers . . . yeah, you can understand why a downtown business in the midst of streetscape construction might be a little nervous.

So, I’m here this week to ask a favor of you.

When someone starts complaining that it is too hard to get around Downtown Elgin, give them a light thump on the forehead and say, “give me a break.” Then present the following argument:

(1) Downtown Chicago is eternally under construction, and people just accept it.
(2) Flying dust might be annoying, but it won’t kill you. Unless you are allergic to dust – then you should probably steer clear.
(3) This is temporary.
(4) It’s okay to change your driving habits – there are other ways to access Chicago Street than driving into Downtown on it. Like National Street or Kimball Street and cutting over on Spring Street to the Spring or Fulton parking garages.
(5) There are a lot of businesses in Downtown Elgin that are worth leaping over a pile of gravel for.

We Elginites pride ourselves on being tough. We work hard. We play hard. Certainly we can handle a little construction. Pshh.

So, don’t abandon your Downtown businesses. Jerry is still ready to give you an old-fashioned haircut and a shave at Central Barber Shop. Herminda and Gloria are ready to serve up a cup of coffee and a good read at Elgin Books. Carswell’s Flooring has still got you covered.

You can check out all the businesses on Chicago Street and throughout Downtown on the DNA’s Downtown Directory at

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