Tower Avenue overhaul prompts information campaignSuperior’s Tower Avenue is getting an overhaul. And the Superior Business Improvement District, the Chamber of Superior-Douglas County, city and Wisconsin Department of Transportation are gearing up for it.
By: Shelley Nelson, Superior Telegram
Superior’s Tower Avenue is getting an overhaul.
And the Superior Business Improvement District, the Chamber of Superior-Douglas County, city and Wisconsin Department of Transportation are gearing up for it. The organizations have no illusions that tearing up the 100-year-old street from store-front to store-front is going to be painless for the businesses and public that uses them.
That’s why the Superior BID is launching a multi-prong campaign to keep businesses and the public informed about the Tower Avenue reconstruction schedules and alternate routes for maintaining access to downtown businesses.
“We Dig Downtown Superior” and its iconic traffic cone is going to become a familiar slogan in that process.
The double entendre of the information campaign’s slogan was intentional, according to BID director Kaye Tenerelli.
“We do dig downtown, and we will be digging it up,” she said.
The Wisconsin Department of Transportation will maintain crossings through Tower Avenue, but they will move during the course of the project.
In the end, the project will create a whole new look for Superior’s historic downtown, featuring planted medians, stamped concrete, historic lighting both high and low, benches and other amenities to the draw people back downtown.
“The April 2013 start of Tower Avenue reconstruction will be here soon, requiring detours that could pose challenges to both businesses and customers along the construction route,” Tenerelli said. “But by always keeping people well informed — and doing so in an interesting way — we can reduce inconveniences while creating new reasons to visit and enjoy downtown Superior.”
At a Thursday morning news conference, Tenerelli introduced the information campaign’s theme and logo, and the many tools and activities planned for informing the public.
One of the first elements is a “toolkit” for downtown businesses, which will include posters and brochures to inform customers, and tips to help businesses market themselves during construction.
In addition to keeping the public informed, she said the BID is planning special events, which could include displays of artifacts uncovered when contractors begin to dig up the road originally constructed about a century ago.
“They could find some very interesting things,” Tenerelli said.
Other communications will include directional road signs, frequent communication with news organizations, email updates, advertising and more.
But it’s a project some businesses have been preparing for over the last two years through the BID’s backdoor project, which has dressed up the back entrances of some businesses with artistic flair.
And the downtown farmers market will still be a feature next year to draw people to the area, Tenerelli said.
The project is expected to cost $12 million to $14 million when utility upgrades are taken into consideration, said Stephanie King, project manager for the WisDOT.
Mayor Bruce Hagen said the project is going to be a shot in the arm for the downtown business district and create whole new look for a city gateway.
The project is expected to close Tower Avenue north of Belknap to North Third Street from April through October, weather permitting.
During that time, Tenerelli said the construction team will meet regularly with business owners to keep them informed about the project.
While construction is expected to be complete in October, Tenerelli said she anticipates planting of green space in the project area may have to wait until 2014 to ensure survival of the plants.
“It’s going to change the look of Tower Avenue and give new life for our downtown,” Tenerelli said.