It’s been a long four months for some downtown Snoqualmie businesses, as a city infrastructure improvement project brought more construction to Railroad Ave, along with lane closures and disappearing street parking spots. But replacing aging sewer and water systems, moving power underground and redesigning parking and sidewalks isn’t an easy or simple undertaking.
If you look at sketches of the future of the historic downtown Snoqualmie core, the end product of all that construction looks worth it. It’s living through the torn up streets and constant traffic flaggers that has some business owners wishing they could just fast forward to the end – in May 2015.
Some Parking Ready for the Holidays
The good news is, though, as all the downtown holiday events inch closer, one section of re-done parking is ready for use – right as tourists and residents head downtown for the annual holiday tree lighting event, outdoor holiday ice rink and the iconic Santa Train.
The Bindlestick owner, Rachelle Armstrong, said one parking area along Railroad Ave, directly in front of the Snoqualmie Depot is now ready for vehicles.
Armstrong explained that parts of the infrastructure project were worse than she expected – that her coffee and beer house was super quiet during some construction that closed a lane of traffic right in front of her Railroad Ave business and backed up traffic for blocks – but she also said she thinks the end product will be worth it for her small business.
Another downtown business, The Black Dog Cafe, took to social media last month, tired of waiting for street parking and living through another construction project. This is the second time in three years this section of Railroad Ave has dealt with construction.
Owners of Ray’s Dining Car also commented that the construction had a dramatic impact on business, especially during the summer, which is usually a busy time for restaurants.
The City of Snoqualmie said it has a project representative attend downtown merchant meetings to keep business owners informed about construction progress.
In January, new boardwalk installation will begin adjacent the railroad tracks by the depot. Rachelle Armstrong thinks the pedestrian boardwalk will be a great asset to downtown Snoqualmie, which attracts thousands of tourists yearly.
Downtown Holiday Events Featured on ‘Evening Magazine’
But, even though the infrastructure project has months of work still ahead, project managers have worked to get more street parking ready in anticipation of the 1st annual outdoor holiday ice rink – brainchild of the Snoqualmie Valley Chamber of Commerce – and the popular Santa Train happening during December weekends.
The Winter Magic Ice Rink runs December 14th – December 21st and the Santa Train runs on weekends through Saturday, December 20th. [The ice rink then moves to Snoqualmie Community Park on December 23rd.]
On Friday, December 19th the Santa Train will even be pulled by an antique steam locomotive – and King 5’s Evening Magazine will be in town to film the festive holiday scene in downtown Snoqualmie.
It’s expected to be a magical holiday season downtown. More lights were added to the tall trees near the Gazebo park this year; the annual holiday tree lighting happens Saturday, December 6th; the Santa Train will pull out of the depot during upcoming weekends; and an ice rink will soon occupy King Street between The Woodman Lodge and Smokey Joe’s – and after nearly 4 months, some street parking has returned to the downtown core!