Editorial: Road work can't come soon enough
A water leak this past week on Main Avenue in Park Rapids perfectly illustrates the need to replace the failing infrastructure.
The leak started Saturday morning and was pooling up just underneath the sidewalk in front of RiverBend Home Expressions.
It was inevitable something like this happened.
The pipes beneath the street are close to 80 years old and are rusting through and collapsing. Fortunately, it was a minor leak - we know it could have been much worse.
Imagine if it had happened during the middle of winter or if it was a major burst. The city has been lucky in that sense.
City crews worked with an excavator to dig up the street over the water main to gain access and shut off the valve. Road blocks set up in the street cut off access to vehicles for a good portion of the day.
Reconstruction of Main Avenue is slated to begin Aug. 2 and the timing couldn't be better. (A few years ago might have been better, actually). But nonetheless the pipes need to be replaced now.
It's also a perfect time for the downtown businesses to come together and highlight what's unique about our town.
A new promotion - free Park Rapids "passports" - is now available at participating Park Rapids businesses. The promotion is to bring the community together for the project.
The passports offer shoppers discounts and other rewards and the chance for a person to win $2,000 cash in a drawing Sept. 30.
In order to participate, people need to make a purchase at 12 of 26 participating businesses before Sept. 28. Customers then receive a passport stamp for each purchase. Collect 12 stamps, complete the entry form inside the passport, tear it out and drop it off at a participating business to be entered into the $2,000 grand prize drawing. There is no entry limit.
Each passport also has a page for a photo, a photo with the downtown ambassador Parker, fun facts about Park Rapids, things to do and an events calendar.
Despite the failing infrastructure in downtown, things are looking up. Business owners are optimistic. This promotion is a great way to bring the community downtown. We can't wait to see what downtown will be like once work is completed.
Along with replacement of the infrastructure, some enhancements are being made to downtown. Some people have criticized the additions but we think they're a vital part of the construction.
It will be another 50 years or more before downtown will be torn up. Now is the time to make things right and highlight our gem of a downtown.