Redmond hopes 'We Dig Downtown' campaign will help businesses

'We Dig Downtown' hosts entertainment on the streets of Redmond to let people know the area is still open for business.

The City of Redmond is hoping a new campaign called 'We Dig Downtown' will help its downtown businesses cope with the negative impacts of a major construction project.

Both Redmond Way and Cleveland Street are being converted from one way traffic to two way traffic, and the project won't be finished until the end of 2017.

Construction work kicked into high gear within just the last two weeks, with the always busy Redmond Way now reduced to one lane, 24 hours a day and seven days a week.

"Its a big mess," said Anne St Germain.  "You can't get through, and the traffic lights back up, and it takes ten minutes just to get across Redmond Way.  It's crazy.  Just crazy."

St. Germain has owned and operated a bookstore for nearly 40 years in Redmond.  

But she says her sales have been cut in half since construction barrels surrounded her shop.  She now worries whether she'll be able to hang on until the work on Redmond Way is complete.

"Last Friday there wasn't anybody in here at all," she said.  "And if it stays like it is now, we won't be able to survive it.  There's no way.  No way."

That's where the We Dig Downtown campaign comes into play.

"We're asking, even though construction is impactful and we know it isn't always fun, we're asking to please support the Redmond downtown businesses and continue to come here for dinner, happy hour, and shopping services," said Jill Smith, who is the city's Economic Development Manager.

Smith said the marketing campaign was the result of a meeting at which business owners were invited to share their concerns about upcoming construction and potential negative impacts.

Every Monday evening from now through the end of October, 'We Dig Downtown' will host live music and entertainment at several locations throughout the downtown area.  The goal is to draw people downtown and remind them that the area is still very much open for business.

"We are just hoping for the best," said St. Germain.  'I'm trying not to be pessimistic."

Smith said the construction is a big step forward in Redmond's vision to transform the downtown area into a vibrant urban center.  

But St. Germain knows from experience that getting there will involve some growing pains.

The next 'We Dig Downtown' event is set for September 26 from 5 pm to 7 pm.  The theme for that evening is 'Sax In the City', with saxophone performances from several musicians.

Organizers chose to hold the 'We Dig Downtown' events on Monday evenings because Mondays are traditionally slower days for downtown shops and restaurants.

Copyright 2016 KING


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