Just a few more weeks is all businesses on Erie Street have to hold out until the street reopens and 122 new parking spaces come with it.
The new municipal parking lot being built in the middle of the city's redevelopment project is scheduled to open Aug. 1
Kent Economic Development Director Dan Smith said Erie Street will reopen in mid August just a few weeks later.
"If there is any good thing about it, it’s happening during the slowest time in the city," Smith said. "I know construction workers are patronizing the businesses down there."
The street is being reconstructed to coincide with the $100 million worth of redevelopment projects going on around it. The reconstruction will widen the street, add 15 feet wide sidewalks on both sides and move the on-street parking from the middle of the road to the sides.
The new parking lot is being built primarily to serve the office workers in the Davey Resource Group and AMETEK, the two corporate anchor tenants in the city's redevelopment project. The 122-space lot will only be available to the firms' employees during regular business hours, but the lot will be open to the public on nights and weekends.
The closure of Erie Street has been tough for businesses in Acorn Alley II as their customers have to search for parking.
Ron Burbick, the developer of Acorn Alley, said they are still planning to start a valet service for the businesses while the road is closed to make it easier for customers to access the businesses.
Burbick said they have lined up insurance, an off-site parking and other requirements for the valet service.
"We're still trying to get the right people to run it," he said. “We’re working on it."
In the meantime, Smith said he's hopeful people won't be deterred by the construction from shopping at the new stores and elsewhere downtown.
"We’re hoping people will just put up with the dust a little bit longer," Smith said. "The really nice part is, after eight weeks they’re going to have brand new streets, brand new lighting (and) brand new sidewalks."