Oswego cuts ribbon to open public improvements on Block 11
A lot of things may have slowed down over the past several months, but the development of downtown Oswego isn’t one of them.
On Thursday, May 21, Village officials were joined by representatives from the Oswego Area Chamber of Commerce and Imperial Investments, the team behind the under-construction building at 113 Main, to officially announce the opening of public improvements on Block 11. The Village Board approved bids on the project in August, and the reconstructed stretch of Adams Street on the south of the block, will be fully open to traffic on Tuesday when the last signs are installed.
“This is a showing of how fast government can work when everybody works together and pulls on the rope at the same time,” Village President Troy Parlier said. “Now we’re prepped for four restaurants here in far less than a year, and we’re going to have two restaurants here open with the year. It’s just fantastic.
Block 11, bounded by Washington, Main, Adams and Van Buren Streets in downtown Oswego, has been reconstructed to include a new alleyway, 24 new parking spaces, a reconstructed portion of Adams Street with a new retaining wall, and infrastructure improvements include water main and storm sewer, space for a shared trash compactor, and other amenities to support restaurant development on the block.
In keeping with social distancing requirements, the ribbon-cutting was kept to a very brief ceremony of 10 people gathered to announce the opening of the alley for public use.
Public Art Manhole Covers Unveiled
Also unveiled on the block were manhole covers designed by local artist Elisabeth Teitge. Her design, “Fox and Muskie,” was selected from among 40 different entries in a competition sponsored by the Oswego Cultural Arts Commission.
“It’s really exciting to see public art being incorporated into functional design of cities and city structures, and I’m glad to be a part of that,” Teitge said. “Even functional things can have beauty to them. I think it’s a creative way that Oswego has approached it, instead of just painting things, this is something more permanent.”
The manhole covers will be used throughout newly reconstructed streets in downtown Oswego, but visitors to downtown will get the best chance of spotting them along the pedestrian-friendly routes of Block 11.
More to come in downtown Oswego
Thursday’s ribbon-cutting officially opened public improvements along Block 11, but the most highly anticipated projects on the block are still to come. The new alley runs between the under-construction 113 Main and the future site of the Dairy Barn. When finished, 113 Main will be a three-story mixed-use building with an independent restaurant and upstairs office or residential space. Across the alley, the Dairy Hut, currently being razed, will be rebuilt as the Dairy Barn, a larger gathering spot for ice cream and a grill menu with indoor and outdoor seating.
Both are being developed by Yorkville-based Imperial Investments.
“These improvements are part of the reason we got involved with projects on this block from the beginning,” Imperial Investments Director of Development Mike Mann said. “It’s a huge help for the buildings we’re doing here because of traffic flow and parking. This is big for the people who are going to be coming and enjoying food at our restaurants.”
A separate ribbon-cutting is anticipated for 113 Main when that project when it opens later this year.
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