Gray Street business owners expect a two – sided construction project News

Some Gray Street business owners believe the possible completion of a two-way road remodel could bring more patronage to shops in the hallway, while others have concerns about the future availability of parking and how the project will affect their operations.

Normans here since the early 1970s have seen the transformation of Main Street and Gray Street into one-way streets, following the national trend at the time.

The two-way Gray Street will return when the city completes a transformation project planned for spring 2023.

The project will start in 2023, after being postponed by a year, according to city officials.

Public Affairs Director Sean O’Leary said the 2019 transport bond election identified the Gray Street project as one of five bond projects that will be fully funded with about $ 4.8 million in bond money.

The remaining 14 of the 19 bond projects were expected to receive federal funding, which would be compared to local bond funding.

O’Leary said the Central Oklahoma Association of Governments “changed the formula for receiving federal transportation subsidies” and as a result, the city reevaluated its approach to the bond program.

The “two-way gray” became eligible this year for more than $ 1.7 million in federal transportation grants, but using federal funds meant a six-month delay in construction to ensure the project met federal guidelines.

Completion of the project will take approximately 9-12 months, O’Leary said.

Devon Carter, owner of Betty Lou’s Flowers and Gifts, said her parents Dwight and Betty Lou Mitchell led the Gray Street business 24 years ago.

The store is located west of University Boulevard, where the two-way street ends.

Carter said the project has the potential to revitalize the area, which has seen a number of companies leave in the past few years.

“A lot of companies have come out on the corner [where] Norman Music Center [was]”Carter said.” It’s been like a ghost town lately.

Ultimately, Carter believes the added convenience of driving both ways down Gray Street will benefit Gray Street’s business east of University Boulevard.

But she is not sure that this will have any effect on her patronage volume.

“I think the two-way Gray will be great and will bring more business to this business on this side of the street,” Carter said.

Jerry Steele, co-owner of J-Byrd Boutique, said two-way traffic on Gray Street would mean increased visibility of the store, which is difficult to see because of the pawnshop next door.

“They’re with us before they even know there’s a store,” Steele said.

He hopes that after the construction of Gray Street is completed, the traffic will slow down.

Steele said the combination of a two-way street and the eventual arrival of The Standard would enhance the synergy between Main Street and Gray Street during events such as the Second Friday Art Walk, in which J-Byrd Boutique is a participant.

“We’re 100 feet from it and we get very little business from it,” Steele said.

But not every business is optimistic about construction. Emily Soregan and Braden Denton, co-owners of Gray Owl Coffee, owned by the workers, say the main concern among the team is that Gray Street may see similar effects as Lindsay Street’s businesses during this road project. Construction on Lindsey Street began in 2015 and was completed in 2018.

Soregan said he hoped the project would mean more people patronizing the store, but remained concerned about what closing the streets meant to him.

“We were a little worried about whether we would just be closed or access to the store would be closed,” Soregan said. “Small shops like ours don’t have many resources. I feel like you saw on Lindsay Street how the shops that survived were mostly chains that could withstand the closure of one of their places for 12 months.

Denton said he was concerned about parking in the area and hoped that the two-way Gray Street would not take up space just outside the strip they occupy.

He said the store depends on these places.

O’Leary did not immediately respond to Friday’s request for comment on the concerns.

But Denton is also uncertainly excited to see the project, which he has heard about for years, finally begin.

“It could do more damage in the short term, but it seems to be the right move for the area,” Denton said.

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