Heavy work stops for season

By: Laura Newell Telegraph staff writer
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As the holiday season approaches, construction on Sutter Street will slow down for shoppers and merchants. “Teichert will not be working during shopping hours,” said Shannon Cheyne, Folsom Historic District Association manager. “All streets will be open and accessible. All heavy construction during the day will stop.” Teichert will continue to work from 10 p.m. to 10:30 a.m. to avoid disturbing shoppers, Cheyne said. “At night, Teichert will be working on the lower parking spaces, (handicap accessible) ramps and lower sidewalks,” Cheyne said. “In addition, they will be working on lighting and landscaping. Because facade installation is not super interruptive, facade work will continue to be installed during the day between Thanksgiving and Christmas.” Evert Palmer, assistant city manager, said the heavy equipment work will be done by Thanksgiving and most of the sidewalks will be finished for shoppers. Palmer said plans allow for construction to conclude by Feb. 28, 2011, and the city is looking at a spring grand opening. Mike Abby, 63, of Pollock Pines shops frequently on Sutter Street in Folsom, even through construction. “Being in construction, I know a project of this size takes time,” Abby said. “I know the businesses were not looking forward to it, but I’ll still patronize this place and I hope other people will too. The merchants are very friendly and I think they have the right attitude to see this for the best.” Some merchants are still concerned now that the busy shopping holiday season has arrived. Recently, Giovanna Stark, owner of American Visions Gallery on Sutter Street, sent a letter to the city manager expressing her concern over the construction and its affect on merchants and business. “We’ve written the city manager to see if there is any relief available for the merchants, especially those who lease or rent — all of us want to survive the renovation,” Stark said. “Until then, we want to invite Folsom residents to come to Sutter Street. … They can eat good food, find excellent wine, have a latte and do their holiday shopping. The gifts and art on the street are unique.” She said in the letter that American Visions Gallery is experiencing some of the worst months since she took over ownership more than seven years ago. “For the merchants on Sutter Street, the renovation is like the fire at the Galleria,” Stark said. “So we would love it if local folks would respond by coming down and seeing what’s in the shops.” Don Wahl, with Betty’s House of Turquoise on Sutter Street, helps cover the store when the owner is away. “I don’t blame the construction people,” Wahl said. “But, it’s been tough economically. It’s better having the sidewalks done and allowing people to enter our stores. We are optimistic.” He said there are pros and cons to the project. “The parking will be tricky,” Wahl said. “One of my biggest concerns is how many public garbage cans we will have and how many restrooms there will be available to the public. You need the basics.”