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Payson’s Main Street closed until early summer for infrastructure renovations | News, Sports, Jobs



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Main Street in Payson, pictured Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2024, is closed and under construction.

Carlene Coombs, Daily Herald

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The Wee Blu Inn Bar and Grill on Main Street in Payson is pictured amid road construction on Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2024.

Carlene Coombs, Daily Herald

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Main Street in Payson, pictured Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2024, is closed and under construction.

Carlene Coombs, Daily Herald

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A large city sign lets residents know Main Street businesses are open during a street closure on Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2024

Carlene Coombs, Daily Herald

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Main Street in Payson, pictured Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2024, is closed and under construction.

Carlene Coombs, Daily Herald

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Main Street in Payson, pictured Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2024, is closed and under construction.

Carlene Coombs, Daily Herald

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Main Street in Payson, pictured Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2024, is closed and under construction.

Carlene Coombs, Daily Herald
















What’s usually a quaint, aesthetic street out of a Hallmark movie, Main Street in Payson will be a sight of torn-up asphalt and construction equipment for the next five months.

On Monday, the city closed Main Street off from traffic as it began extensive infrastructure repairs and improvements, as well as cosmetic upgrades to the historic downtown.

Two blocks will be closed to vehicle traffic from 100 North to 100 South, with construction lasting through mid-June. Sidewalks will be closed for pedestrians from approximately late March to late May.

According to Dave Tuckett, Payson city manager, the project will do some much-needed improvements to utilities and infrastructure. The cosmetic upgrades also will “spruce it up a bit,” he said.

Tuckett said under the street’s asphalt is an 18-inch concrete slab, and underneath that are city utility lines. Due to the concrete, the city has been unable to reach the utility lines, which he says haven’t been upgraded since the 1940s.

The project will replace public utility lines, redo the storm drain system, repave the road and repair the sidewalks. The city also will be adding a water feature, colored concrete and fresh landscaping.

While the project addresses needed improvements, Tuckett said the city will continue to work with the businesses that line the street that the construction will impact.

“It’s needed and it’ll be a good thing once it’s done, but it is an inconvenience to everybody,” he said.

Brittney Meyers, a bartender at Wee Blu Inn Bar and Grill, which has a longstanding presence on Main Street, said since construction started Monday, she’s already seen a decrease in patrons while she’s working.

“Days definitely have gotten slower and I haven’t seen a lot of my regulars because of it,” she said, pointing to the half-empty bar.

Meyers said many of her daytime customers are elderly and come to hang out at the bar and restaurant. With the construction impacting sidewalks, entrances and parking, she’s concerned about accessibility for customers.

Currently, the city has $300,000 of grant money Main Street businesses can apply for to improve front-facing facades and back entrances.

Tuckett said $100,000 of that money is coming through the city and the remaining $200,000 is federal funding, which comes with conditions such as retaining a certain amount of employees and paying a certain amount.

Because the project includes closing sidewalks, Tuckett said they’ve been encouraging businesses to work on their back entrances, which the grant money can be used for. He added they have also talked with contractors to try to keep sidewalks open when they can.

Robin Ellsworth, who owns West Rose Flower Shop and Boutique, said she currently is in the application process to secure some of the grant money.

She said walk-ins have been a “little bit slower” this week, but it’s hard to tell if it’s due to construction or just a slow week.

Ellsworth said they have been informing customers beforehand to let them know about the construction and that they’ll still be open.

“Obviously, it’s frustrating, but I mean, they’re redoing the water lines and doing all the landscaping and stuff, so we’re trying to just go with the flow with it and do what we can,” she said, adding that they’ve been communicating with the city about the project and the city is “doing what they can.”

“It’s hard on a business to have that closed, for sure,” she said, adding that it’s tough to quantify the impact on her business yet since construction only began this week.

In anticipation of the project limiting foot traffic, Ellsworth said they have started to list more things on their website to give people an online option. They also started a Facebook page to increase advertising.

Meyers said the bar and grill hasn’t increased its social media presence or offered promotions to encourage visits, but they are planning to offer discounted lunches for construction workers.

Another restaurant on the street, Snapper Mexican Seafood, posted in a local Facebook group that it would be offering promotions during the construction period.

For patrons of historic downtown, street parking is open on Utah Avenue as well as a few parking locations behind businesses. The parking lot behind Wells Fargo Bank on the corner of 100 North and 100 West is closed to store construction equipment.



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