By: Corbin Lingenfelter, News Director
Jasper- It was over a year ago that the City of Jasper shut down the first quadrant of its downtown square.
Now, on September 14th, 2023, visitors and residents can drive around the full square without any barricades preventing them from reaching the four entrances and exits.
Ragle Construction Inc. removed those barricades after doing the final paving on Tuesday and Wednesday. Work is still being done however, as plants and other decorations are still being placed.
It is an exciting time for the merchant’s on the square as well, who had seen their sidewalks and streets torn up during the work on their quadrants.
“We are just so happy,” said Jaimie Jahn, President of the Jasper Downtown Merchants Association, “It felt like a very long time. I think it was a year and nine months, and we are just over the moon happy that you can drive all the way around the square now.”
Jahn, who owns Downtown Fitness and Running Co. on the northeast quadrant, gave praise to the construction crew and the city for the work.
“I think it’s wonderful,” She said, “They did such a good job. Everything seemed to go really smoothly. They were so nice to us and our customers, we appreciated everything.”
The plan now is to get people down to the square. Jahn encourages everyone to visit the various merchants around the square and to stop in to their shops.
Heart of Jasper will be hosting a Celebrate the Square (21 and up) event on Friday, October 13th. A ribbon cutting ceremony will come prior to the event.
Jasper Mayor Dean Vonderheide said, “It’s great to see it, through the different phases we’ve gone through. Obviously this last phase went much faster than the first one. We learned from that (Northwest Quadrant), we kept moving, and it was full speed ahead.”
City did not have to make any major changes to the original plan as the project progressed. In fact, they may be under the budget allotted to the first phase. The extra funds could go towards other projects in the city or towards phase two. The city has not made that decision yet.
As phase one wraps up and phase two is nearing, the city will be looking towards the second phase in early 2024. Still to be done in Phase 1 are light fixtures, seating, road signs and striping, and other elements. No semi-truck traffic will be allowed on the square and signs will be posted alerting the drivers. This does not include fire trucks.