HUNTSVILLE, ONT. – The City of Huntsville is in the fifth month of its major downtown rejuvenation project.
The main thoroughfare in the small town of Muskoka is blocked from traffic, forcing tourists and residents to take detours while businesses remain open.
“The access is always open, you can’t drive past the store, but we are creating as much parking as possible in the back alleys. We encourage people to come downtown and visit your favorite business,” Stephen said. Hernen, city operations manager.
In the middle of the Diggin ‘Downtown project is The Record Shoppe.
Co-owner Trevor Marshall said construction has done away with quick take over, which he says is a big part of their business, especially as the province reopens.
“It’s like having a root canal. When we’re in the chair, we might as well have a second one at the same time,” Marshall said of the pandemic year and recent construction.
Marshall said that although the construction is having an impact on business, the city council and the BIA have kept him informed of the project.
“Once this is all over, the cages are gone and the road is back on, it will be fantastic,” said Marshall.
According to the city, in addition to the new sewers and water pipes under Main Street, the project will include improved lights, sidewalks, Muskoka chairs scattered around the city center, and green spaces for residents and tourists.
The multi-phase project is in its second phase and the city hopes to be in its third phase higher up Main Street in August.
“We were supposed to be open in December, but we ran into some hurdles,” said new Main Street business owner Mike McAvan, who will see his portion of the street blocked in the next few steps.
Music on Main, a rock and roll-inspired coffee and bagel store, has been suspended not only because of the pandemic, but also because McAvan said he suffered a stroke in the winter.
Since then, he rehabilitates and works on the finishing of the workshop.
He said it was almost finished, and he hopes that by the end of July or early August it will be up and running.
Although his block may be closed to traffic when it is wide open, he remains positive.
“There are a lot of circulation issues right now, but it’s a little pain for long term gain,” McAvan said.
He said Music on Main will sell coffee, baked goods, guitars and equipment, in addition to offering lessons and a recording studio. It’s a dream that McAvan says was long overdue.
According to the city, the entire downtown Huntsville rejuvenation project will be completed by next summer.