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Work nearly done on Sutter Street construction project

By: Laura Newell Telegraph staff writer
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After a year of construction on Sutter Street, merchants and residents are looking forward to the $8.4 million project’s completion. Kent Hansen, 28, has lived on Reading Street off of Sutter Street for one year and is happy to see work move forward. “I think the project will make the street look better,” Hansen said. “I’m looking forward to the long-term effects.” The project’s construction completion date is planned for mid-March with final finishing touches in April, said Sue Ryan, public information officer for the city. Ryan said an opening event called “Rediscover Historic Folsom” is scheduled to take place in April. No details were available on the event at this time, said Ryan. “This is the fun phase of the project right now where we see trees and landscaping going in,” said Kerry Miller, city manager. “This is exciting.” Recent accomplishments, said project engineer Brian Reed, include a variety of trees planted along Sutter Street. “The city arborist (Ken Menzer) hand picked trees for health, diversity and fall foliage,” Reed said. “When the leaves start popping out this spring, it will be beautiful.” Reed said upcoming construction work includes work around the Hacienda Del Rio in the 700 block of Sutter Street and work near Scott Street. Also, the next round of facade work will take place in upcoming weeks on the south side of the 700 block of Sutter Street. Reed said they are attempting to keep one lane of traffic open at all times on Sutter Street during daytime construction work. Hansen said he is looking forward to having better parking available in the Historic District with the parking garage and additional street parking for tourists and shoppers. “A lot of times I get a lot of people parking in front of my house, so I’m looking forward to being able to better enjoy my house – especially during special events like Folsom Live and Second Saturday (on Sutter Street),” he said. He said construction crews have been working well with area residents by providing construction updates and road closure announcements. Merchants are happy to hear that Sutter Street traffic will be open to the public during the last months of construction. Marjorie Yohner owns Dorothea’s Christmas store in the 800 block of Sutter Street and said business is back. “I think the worst is over,” Yohner said. “As long as the roads aren’t closed, people can see that we are open.” She is also looking forward to the awnings and lighting getting installed. “Business is pretty much back to normal,” she said. Farther up the street at Rainbow Bridge Jewelers in the 700 block of Sutter Street, owner Dorothy Cormack said businesses struggled with road closures. “We have heard some complaints from customers in the past couple of weeks because they closed streets,” she said. “The perception of customers is when they see that road closed, they don’t even want to be here.” Cormack said she is excited to see the trees and landscaping going in. “It will look so nice and seeing those trees go in will help people see that the end of construction is near,” she said. “I encourage people to come down because it’s so interesting to watch.” She said construction has negatively impacted business. “Holiday business was up from last year until they closed the 700 block (of Sutter Street),” she said. She has had the jewelry store on Sutter Street for 33 years and said this year she has lost approximately $10,000 to $20,000 from previous years. “When they finish, the street will be fantastic,” Cormack said. “I know business will turn around in the spring.” In the 600 block of Sutter Street, Karryann Pallitto, owner of Gracefully Vintage, said business is slower with construction. She said recently there has been less foot traffic because of closed streets. “During the holiday months and weekends, when streets are open, we get more business,” Pallitto said. Still, she looks forward to the end of all the turmoil. “I look at it as everyday they are here working on construction, we are one day closer to being done,” Pallitto said. “I’m looking forward to the finished street.”