ABILENE, Texas (KTAB) – Downtown Abilene continutes to be a flurry of activity, with new development, construction, and business growth. All that change means that some more “back to basics” work is in order. Roadwork is planned all throughout Abilene’s Central Business District, first approved by voters in 2015.
The plan is an ambitious one. Looking at the map of streets to be overhauled, the grid covers nearly all of the downtown area. According to city staff, the roadwork done over the next year and a half should buy some more time for the old streets.
Public Works Director Greg McCaffery said, “These streets receive an awful lot of traffic, an awful lot of abuse. The intent of this project is to try to fix those deteriorated areas, improve the rideability, improve the safety of those streets.”
The roadwork will be a bit of a headache, but some business owners say it should be worth it. Vagabond Pizza, for instance, is already sitting right in between two ongoing construction projects, so a third doesn’t make much difference.
“They’ve worked with us to try to make sure that it’s the least amount of disruption possible to business”, said Vagabond co-owner Jessica Adams. “I think we’re in a really great position where, yes, there’s no question there will be disruption, but to minimize it, and make sure it will be the best outcome for everyone.”
Chamber of Commerce President Doug Peters echoes that sentiment, choosing to consider what the development means for Downtown, and by extension, the entire city.
“When there is an opportunity to grow our city, it really makes good sense to grow it from the inside out”, Peters said.
The downtown situation is going to be a bit messy for a while, possibly 15 months, but stakeholders seem to be focused on the payoff that could come from better roads in front of their businesses.