ALLEGAN, Mich. (WOOD) — The city of Allegan is taking the first day of spring as an opportunity to kick off the transformation of its downtown.
After several years of community meetings and creating a vision, the work is finally underway.
“There’s a lot of energy in downtown Allegan right now,” Joel Dye, city manager, said.
Dye says the project goes beyond the benches, bike racks and public art installations.
“In addition to (the) streetscape, it’s really an infrastructure project. So it’s going to be new sewer lines, new water mains, lead service lines are being all replaced, wider sidewalks,” Dye said.
The last time Allegan saw upgrades was in the mid-1980s. It hasn’t been fully reconstructed in more than 70 years.
“This has been needed for several decades now. We’re very thankful the community was able to come together and create the vision and with the assistance of our federal and state partners and local partners, we were able to find the funding to pull this off,” Dye said.
The project will take two years to complete, but it’s been in the works for nearly six. The whole community was invited to give their input, including pharmaceutical giant Perrigo. Downtown business owners also played a big part in the planning, including Landria Johnson, owner of The Sassy Olive.
“There’s a charm down here and something I don’t know exactly how to explain but this a beautiful area and this is just going to really elevate us to the next level…I look forward to this so much because it’s really going to level up the entire downtown as a whole and it’s going to invite more businesses down here in the future,” Johnson said.
Johnson says if people can look past the dust for the next two years, the wait is going to be worth it.
“In the past several years, we’ve had over 8 million dollars in private investment and 20 new businesses, and we are always looking for more and open for more,” Dye said.
While this project is ongoing, the Michigan Department of Transportation will also be installing a roundabout at the M-40, M-89 and Hubbard Street junction.