After weeks of construction, city officials announced this afternoon that Erie Street will reopen to traffic starting Monday.
The road, which was rebuilt and reconfigured as part of the downtown redevelopment work, will be open again from South Water Street to South DePeyster Street.
"There’s still finish work to be done, but we want to get the road open again to traffic and the parking open so people can get to the businesses," Kent City Engineer Jim Bowling said.
The catch is that South DePeyster Street will close between Erie Street and East Main Street starting Monday so it can be repaved as part of the downtown work.
Motorists will be able to park on Erie Street west of where Acorn Alley crosses the roadway. Because South DePeyster Street will be closed parking at the eastern end of Erie Street will be closed, so drivers can make a U-turn and head back out to South Water Street.
Gwen Rosenberg, owner of Popped!, which is in Acorn Alley II on Erie Street, said the news that the street is reopening Monday was "awesome" hear.
"I’m totally thrilled," she said. "I think it looks beautiful. They did a fantastic job."
Rosenberg was one of several business owners who prepared for a drop in business related to the summer closure, which made accessing stores in Acorn Alley difficult for customers.
But now she's not entirely convinced it was the construction and not the fact classes at Kent State University were out for summer that caused a lull in gourmet popcorn sales the past few weeks.
"I saw a little dip, but nothing catastrophic," Rosenberg said. "Throughout the summer I've continued to have new customers, people coming into the shop who'd never been here before. I took that as a positive sign."
She said in the past week she's seen more students and staff at the university stop in and alumni giving friends and family members tours of all the new construction.
The South DePeyster Street closing is expected to last until mid November.
Bowling said there will be intermittent closures on Erie Street as crews finish installing street lights, flower beds and other sidewalk work. The sidewalk on the south side of the street is not yet finished.
"We’ll be closing things off intermittently throughout the day while we’re working on stuff that still needs completed, like lighting," he said. “When we get a chance to get that work done we’ll close off as little area as possible while we go ahead and complete that piece of the infrastructure."