Donations are the lifeblood that keeps the nonprofit TOCO resale shop running in Belleville.
But here’s the catch: TOCO and nearby businesses are in a section of West Main Street that will undergo an estimated $3.3 million renovation, and TOCO’s manager urges customers and benefactors to “brave the mess” and keep visiting the store during the construction project.
“We’re hoping that it brings more customers down this way from downtown and we’re pretty excited about how the end product will look,” said Maura McCoy, manager of the TOCO, or Tapestry of Community Offerings, shop at 825 W. Main St. “It’s just a matter of getting there.”
In the first phase, storm water sewers will be installed from Sixth Street to 12th Street so the storm water runoff will not be combined with sanitary sewer lines. This sewer separation work is expected to begin in the next two weeks and be finished before the construction season ends late this year. Parts of West Main Street will be ripped out because this storm water line will run down the middle of the street.
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Motorists will be asked to detour around the area unless they live near the work zone or need to visit businesses there. The city will put up signs that proclaim “all businesses are open” during the roadwork.
You can expect to run into lane restrictions and roadblocks, according to Tim Gregowicz, city engineer.
After the storm water lines are installed, the city plans to seek bids in January for the “streetscape” portion of the renovation. This second phase of work will include decorative street light posts, new sidewalks with “bump outs” that could be used for outdoor dining and West Main Street will be repaved from Sixth to 12th streets.
This streetscape work beginning in the spring will mirror the renovations completed in recent years along Main Street in downtown and on North Illinois Street.
The third phase of the project will be a streetscape renovation on West Main from 12th to 17th streets. This work is expected to be done in 2020.
“We look at what happened with the downtown streetscape. It kind of revitalized it, so we’re hoping to revitalize this part of town,” Gregowicz said.
Here are highlights of the West Main Street renovation plans:
▪ The sewer separation phase will cost the city about $799,000 and DMS Contracting Inc. of Mascoutah is the general contractor. The streetscape from Sixth to 12th streets is estimated to cost $1.37 million and the city received a $1 million federal grant for this work. The streetscape from 12th to 17th streets is estimated to cost $1.12 million and the city will seek a federal grant to help pay for this project, according to Gregowicz.
▪ Here are the recommended detours around the West Main Street work:
People driving east on West Main Street should turn right onto South 17th Street; then left onto South Belt West; then left onto Centreville Avenue; and then right onto West Monroe Street to get to downtown destinations.
People driving west on West Main Street should turn left onto South Sixth Street; then left onto Washington Street; then right onto Centreville Avenue; then right onto South Belt West; and then right onto South 17th Street to West Main Street.
“We’re trying to limit the amount of traffic that comes through the construction zone (for) the safety of the workers in the work zone,” Gregowicz said.
▪ The annual Santa Parade on Nov. 23 will have a different route this year because the sewer separation project may not be completed before the parade date. Traditionally, the parade has started at 17th and and West Main streets. This year’s parade will begin at Hough Park on North Third Street and then turn left onto West Main Street and end at Oak Street on East Main Street. This is the route that the St. Patrick’s Day Parade has followed.
▪ The sewer work underway this summer near Lindenwood University-Belleville and off Seventh Street is unrelated to the West Main streetscape project.
▪ The storm water collected along West Main Street from Sixth to 12th streets will be funneled into Richland Creek near the intersection of Sixth and West Main streets.
▪ For more information, you can contact Gregowicz at 618-257-7649.