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Chamber lends a hand during road construction

According to a popular saying "The only certainties are death and taxes." Dave Minor, president and CEO of the Superior-Douglas County Chamber of Commerce, would add one more certainty - road construction.

According to a popular saying "The only certainties are death and taxes." Dave Minor, president and CEO of the Superior-Douglas County Chamber of Commerce, would add one more certainty - road construction.

"Road construction is a fact of life," he said. That reality hit businesses along Belknap Street last month when road construction shut the road down from East Second Street to Hill Avenue. Two motels located along that strip of street were drastically affected.

"I refer to them as an island in the middle of an ocean," Minor said of the Bay and Budget motels.

Rosalba and Chris Gay, who own The Bay Motel, said the chamber of commerce has been extremely supportive, keeping them informed and helping them find solutions.

Education is one of the chamber's primary goals, Minor said. It's important to let business owners know when projects like this are taking place, he said. The chamber also serves as a resource directory, providing business owners with contact numbers for city departments and the agency in charge of the construction - in the case of the Belknap project, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.

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"We get them in direct contact with the people who are doing the construction," Minor said," who are typically right outside their door." That way questions can be answered in minutes instead of hours.

For this particular construction project, Minor said, the chamber put up signage both eastbound and westbound on Belknap Street, as well as billboards along East Second Street, to let people know all the businesses are still open. And staff at the visitors center have handy directions for travelers on how to reach the businesses they are looking for.

"We just try to work with members on how we can minimize the impact (of construction)," Minor said.

Helping businesses survive and thrive is the goal of the chamber of commerce. And chamber staff will have plenty of chance to use their expertise in the coming years. The Belknap Street construction project is slated to end by Nov. 1, but Minor ticked off a list of upcoming projects. In 2012, work will take place along East Second Street from Belknap Street to the foot of the Blatnik Bridge. The huge Tower Avenue reconstruction project, which will reconstruct the avenue from Belknap Street to North Third Street, is scheduled for 2013. Pre-work on the Bong Bridge is slated for 2014 with millwork and overlay on the bridge surface the following year. Each project will affect business owners.

"It's important to support these businesses during this time frame," Minor said. "They need support more than ever."

For more information on the Superior-Douglas County Chamber of Commerce, look up their website at www.superiorchamber.org/ , call (715) 394-7716 or stop by the visitor center at 205 Belknap Street.

Related Topics: DOUGLAS COUNTYSUPERIOR
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