Waunakee business community unites to survive main street road c - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Waunakee business community unites to survive main street road construction project

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Waunakee (WKOW)-- Road construction season is in full swing, as thousands of orange cones line up along Wisconsin roads. Of the countless miles of roadway in Dane County, very few stretches are as economically important as Main Street in downtown Waunakee. Stretches of the road date back to the 1800's so many residents are happy to see the project finally coming to fruition. However, they're concerned about how it will affect the local economy.

"We've been talking about this project for several years. It's going to be a huge asset to our community, but in the meantime it's going to be a tough few months," downtown business owner Sandy Taylor says.

Taylor owns Waunakee Furniture Etc. on Main Street. She typically sees hundreds of cars rolling through downtown, but recently it's only been a handful every few hours. That's why business leaders have started a brand new advertising campaign that sends a simple message, we're still open.

"The roads kind of give you the story that we're not here, but our signage is strong," Taylor says.

"Open For Business" is the message that has unified the downtown business community of Waunakee, even to the point of creating a brand new website, http://togetherwaunakee.com/ which provides the latest information on the project and its affect on local business.

"We hope nobody will be left behind and that they feel they have a voice to communicate concerns on what's going on. We also want to share information with them," Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Ellen Schaaf says.

Not only is it tough to drive around in downtown Waunakee, it's difficult to walk around. On Monday, construction crews started working on Main Street and the first thing they did was tear out the sidewalk. Many businesses like Village Market on Main Street can't use their front doors.

"We have to send them through the back door. It's kind of inconvenient, because they have to walk through our kitchen," owner Fred Loy says.

The Village Market has been in the community for more than 100 years. Loy has worked there for 41 of those years and took over as owner in 2005. He says the construction project is very concerning, especially during the busy months of Summer. He's hoping this new partnership with other business owners helps everyone survive the project.

"You always think you're by yourself, that it's just going to affect you. It doesn't, it affects everybody in town," Loy says.

The project is scheduled to wrap up sometime in September. On Saturday, the Waunakee Area Chamber of Commerce will hold the "Rock'n Ribs Festival." For more information on their many upcoming events visit http://modules.waunakeechamber.com/events/

The chamber is also planning a celebration once the construction project is complete. They're attempting to recreate a pavement dance that took place in 1923. They're also planning a ribbon-cutting and live music to celebrate the new Main Street.


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Waunakee (WKOW)-- Road construction season is in full swing, as thousands of orange cones line up along streets, highways and county roads. Of the countless miles of roadway in Dane County, very few stretches are as economically important as Main Street in downtown Waunakee.

On Monday, construction crews started working on a massive overall of the downtown area. The first thing to go was Main Street itself, which is now replaced by dirt and gravel as crews work to rebuild the road. Residents say it dates back to the 1800's and community members have talked about replacing it for years. Now, that time has finally come and the business community has rallied together in hopes of surviving the project. Many business owners are concerned the amount of traffic into the area will continue to drop. That's why they've decided to band together.

Coming up on 27 News at 6:00 p.m. we'll show you the unique strategies residents have come up with in order to survive this massive overall of downtown Waunakee.

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