Downtown Dousman remains open for business during construction
First phase of road work may be done in time for Derby Days

By Katherine Michalets - Special to the Enterprise

July 10, 2014

Downtown Dousman remains open for business during the road work on Main Street.
Construction crews worked on wet and muddy roads Tuesday.

Katherine Michalets/Special to the Enterprise

DOUSMAN - Having the main street that runs in front of your business torn up for the whole summer is by no means desirable, but downtown Dousman business owners are making the best of a bad situation.

While the ice cream at Chamberlain’s Flower & Gift Shop is ready to be scooped onto a cone, store owner Jane Pennycuff said sales are down. The flower side of her business has fared a bit better because of the delivery aspect.

“We’re trying to keep positive. There have been delays obviously because of the weather,” said Pennycuff, co-president of the Dousman Chamber of Commerce.

It has been tough going for the past few months, Leinweber said, adding he is “thankful for the people who have come here and trucked through all of the construction.”

As the first part of the three-phase project nears completion, the hope is the road will be paved and curbs and gutters will be installed before the Derby Days July 26 through July 28. Installation of sidewalks remains questionable, said Village President Jack Nissen.

Signs erected at the intersection of Highway 18 and Main Street inform drivers that downtown Dousman is open for business. Jane Pennycuff, owner of Chamberlain’s Flower & Gift Shop, said in the beginning the advertising helped to bring in new customers.
Katherine Michalets/Special to the Enterprise

The project is estimated to cost around $7.5 million, he said. The village will need to borrow some money to cover the costs, but funds will also be used from the water and sewer utilities.

According to a notice posted on the village’s website, installation of curb and gutters on South Main Street will begin today. Residents who have driveways on South Main Street are asked to start parking in the Cory Park parking lot once concrete is being installed until further notice. Schultz Concrete will contact residents when they will not have access to their driveways.

Construction crews weren’t able to get started on the project until late spring due to the frozen ground, setting the project behind. In order to save time, the second phase of the project will begin even as the first phase is being finished, Nissen said.

“The contractors are doing their best effort to stay on track,” he said.

The plan is to have the majority of the project done by October or November with final paving being done in 2015.

As part of the project, crosswalks will be installed and residents who live along Main Street will have better drainage for their front yards due to the installation of curb and gutter and a storm water system, Nissen said. There will also be streetlights erected along the road. Previously, there were just lights attached to power poles. 

Nissen is also pleased there will be new sidewalks poured. Already online is a new sanitary sewer that is not getting infiltration of groundwater. He said previously water carried to the plant for treatment sometimes was nothing more than groundwater. As a result, the village will save money on water treatment.

Another addition will be a new municipal parking lot along Main Street, where formerly a house stood.

Throughout the construction project, Nissen said the crews and flag people have been trying to keep traffic moving in the downtown area.

Kenny Leinweber, whose wife owns Deb’s Main Street Diner, said once the project is done it will be nice and he hopes it will be an asset for the community.

“It’s not like Dousman has lost any businesses and I hope we don’t,” he said. “With it being a newer downtown, I hope it brings in some more businesses and more customers.”

It has been tough going for the past few months, Leinweber said, adding he is “thankful for the people who have come here and trucked through all of the construction.”

He has heard from area residents and those outside the village that they want to support the local businesses so they are still around when the project is completed.

One way Deb’s Main Street Diner has dealt with the construction project has been to create a delivery service for the people who can’t get to the restaurant.

Pennycuff started a punch card for ice cream cones and another for flowers. The chamber has created maps of downtown they have given to the flag girls working at the construction site.

“We want people from out of town to know how to get around,” she said.

Even though the road may look like a complete mess, Pennycuff wants people to know businesses are open and roads are navigable.