HJ/EDJuly 10, 2006

Coping with construction: a look at downtown Cokato

By Kristen Miller
Staff Writer

Most downtown businesses find the Broadway Construction Project a bit of an inconvenience, but understand it’s just something that has to be done.

First National Bank of Cokato has found ways to make it more convenient for its customers to get to the bank, including a ramp from Mike’s Transmission to the drive-up.

As for customer complaints, Vice President Jason Ryan said, “Not as many as I had expected.”

Most people understand it’s something the town needs and “the necessary evil we have to deal with,” he said.

“It could be worse,” and the construction crew has been good to work with, Ryan said.

Mike Burskin of Mike’s Transmission knew business would be down due to construction, “But I didn’t expect it this much,” he said.

With no access for more than two days, Burskin is willing to pick up and deliver cars for his customers. He is even offering a July special to help keep business, call for details.

Keaveny Thrifty White Drug offers delivery for its senior patients ,which will be convenient for them during road construction.

Owner Kelly Keaveny reports that sales have been slightly down due to the construction, but assures his customers that the drug store will be accessible through the alley-way once construction takes place near Tower Shopping Center.

Another inconvenience is the dust. Keaveny suggested watering the road three to four times a day to help keep the dust down.

He was disappointed in the lack of signs explaining downtown was in fact open for business.

“It had to get done, but it is an inconvenience,” Keaveny said.

Dave Piepgras, owner of The Pizza Factory, has noticed a bit of a decrease in business, and wants to make sure customers know there is a back entrance that leads into the dining room, with parking on side streets.

To show their appreciation during the construction, The Pizza Factory will give its customers who order a pizza for pick-up, a free two-liter bottle of pop.

Jim Loe, vice president of the State Bank of Cokato, said the bank and its customers are “making the best of it.”

Along with frequent communication with the city and construction inspector, the bank will do its best to advise customers of any changes during the construction.

To accommodate customers, the bank has extended its walk-up hours to coincide with the drive-up hours.

Loe was advised by the city that the bank customers should have continued access to the drive-up, except for a couple limited instances when construction is directly in front of the bank.

The bank will do its best to alert customers when it’s aware of any access issues, Loe said.

“We have to be flexible.”

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