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Streetscape Project Can Reinvigorate Downtown

The news we’ve all been waiting for finally has come: the Downtown Streetscape Project in Wheeling, seven years in the making, has been let out to bid.

That is great news for those who travel downtown each day.

We will learn at the end of July just how much this mammoth undertaking will cost. While initial estimates were in the $30 million range, inflation and other factors could cause that price to skyrocket.

When it’s finished, the streetscape — new streets, new sidewalks, new curb cuts, better accessibility for pedestrians — will breathe new life into downtown. That can’t happen soon enough, as the constant roadwork, lane closures and general overall feel of things not moving fast enough has led to anger and uncertainty among the public and even the business community.

There’s still much to happen — the bid letting calls for all work to be completed by the end of November in 2024 — but at least we now can see light at the end of the tunnel. The completion date also will work well with building upgrades around town at the Wheeling-Pitt Lofts, the McLure House Hotel, the new parking garage at 11th and Main and others.

The key moving forward is for the city to be ready when this work is done.

This work will remake downtown, and Wheeling must be prepared to take advantage of the opportunity. Mayor Glenn Elliott and council have work to do in the coming months.

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