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Blaming it on too much caffeine

By Staff | Oct 9, 2016

Sidewalk supervisors Dave Kittleson and grandson, Gus, watch the concrete work.

It is getting so close I can almost taste it.

Well, maybe taste isn’t the right sense.

But, I can see it. I have been watching it all summer out my office window.

And, I can certainly feel it. There has been a rumbling, which sometimes shakes the whole building, causing things to fall right off the shelf above my desk.

And, hearing it is no problem, either. It is the roar of powerful engines in large equipment, of course. But, it is also the nearly constant beep-beep-beep-beeping as some piece of equipment always seems to be backing up. Or maybe they all are.

Just what is this ‘it?’

The Main Street project in downtown Blue Earth, of course. But the ‘it’ I refer to in the first sentence of this column is actually the completion of that project.

That ‘it’ is getting close. Really close.

I can see the increased flurry of activity by the construction crews as the Oct. 15 deadline quickly approaches. They are out pouring concrete by the truckload after truckload, in another area they are laying paver bricks at the intersections, and in yet another, preparing the street for even more concrete.

All the while dodging the seemingly every-other-day rainstorm. If they can have a rain-free week this week, I think they are going to get it done.

But done or not, the community of Blue Earth is going to celebrate ‘it’ the completion of the project.

And, they are going to do that in style.

At one time, the city was trying to think of some way to note the end of the project. The Chamber of Commerce was also planning some sort of ribbon cutting ceremony.

But, now, it has turned into an all day event, complete with food, games, activities, music and a whole lot more. It will be all day, from morning until night, this Saturday, Oct. 15.

Oh, and yes, there will be an official ribbon cutting ceremony in the busy schedule, as well.

You can credit John Oswald’s need for a daily caffeine fix for this “Complete Street Fall Festival.’

The owner of Oswald’s Brewery frequently heads down to Ankeny’s Coffee Shop for a cup of Joe. And during those stops, he and Bruce Ankeny started talking about doing something to celebrate the completion of the street project.

It might have been the caffeine talking, but the two discussed a multitude of ways to do more than just a short official ceremony. They wanted a big celebration and came up with the idea of a fall festival out on the brand new streets. Other folks, like the city, the Chamber and the downtown businesses, agreed. So now, this giant idea is going to happen.

Sounds like a terrific plan. Oswald and Ankeny are to be commended.

And, while I am handing out kudos from the editor, here are a few more.

The City Council and its Street Committee deserve credit for backing some extra aesthetics to the downtown project. When it is all done, I think downtown is going to look very, very nice. And, hopefully, this will be a spark to a continued effort to really beautify the downtown area.

The construction crews deserve a big thank you for the way they have done all they could to accommodate the downtown businesses and customers. The crews have kept the sidewalks open for darn near the entire summer.

Blue Earth Light and Water is also on the thank you list. They have embraced the downtown project and installed some beautiful, new street lights, despite the fact they are more expensive than just the regular type of lights.

And, of course, the entire community of Blue Earth and the surrounding area deserves a big thank you for continuing to support the local businesses, even when it took a little bit of extra effort to get there.

So give yourselves a pat on the back.

Now it is time to celebrate, finally.

Not just the completion of a construction project, but the start of a new look for Blue Earth.

I can’t wait to see what is next.