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Concord leaders promise transparency, empathize with downtown businesses

CONCORD, N.C. — After the holidays, the city says downtown construction will move up Union Street. Leaders say they understand why businesses are frustrated but they are committed to making sure they make it through.

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“The overriding question was, ‘What are you willing to give up from cars and give to people?’” said Steve Osborne, the planning director.

After asking businesses and residents that question in 2019, Concord leaders decided on the downtown streetscape project. It will reduce the road and expand the sidewalks to 22 feet wide.

“It just creates a more welcoming place for the community to come and enjoy our downtown,” said Paige Grochoske, the manager for Downtown Development.

It will give more room for businesses and pedestrians and improve landscaping and infrastructure.

“More space for pedestrians. More space for outdoor dining cafes. We’ve got some great streetlights that are coming in, as well as updating the critical infrastructure throughout the street, including water sewer, storm drain, and some of the electrical support for those poles,” said Kaylee Caton, the design manager.

Concord leaders say they understand this hasn’t been easy for downtown businesses and residents. As Channel 9 reported last week, many are reporting slumping sales and the Cabarrus Creamery is temporarily closing as a result.

“It’s our goal to continue to bring people downtown to support these businesses,” Grochoske said.

The city is posting construction updates online and working with groups to offer things, such as Google and social media support to businesses. The city is also offering a matching grant for facade and signage improvements and says business and building property owners can apply.

Contractually, the construction has a substantial completion date of July 2, 2024. However, the city expects some landscaping to be completed in Fall 2024. The contractor may file requests for extensions for reasons beyond its control. The city says examples include weather events and natural disasters, epidemics, or design issues with unknown existing utilities, which result in work stoppages.

Any request for extensions must be approved by the city.

The contract includes liquidated damages of $250 per day past the contract’s substantial completion date.

Press + Porter owner Emily Cordero says she will be watching this closely.

“I’m glad it’s on record,” she said. “They still have to go two more blocks and six months seems like it’ll be here before we know it. So I’ll really be surprised that that July date sticks.”

City leaders give Concord City Council monthly updates on the project and its meetings.

Click here for the most recent construction updates.


VIDEO: Business owners blindsided as part of Union Street to close in Concord through summer