If you head into downtown Greenwood, you will find construction wrap on buildings and equipment on sidewalks, along with signs that remind you the shops, offices and restaurants remain open.
Two months into a $1.4 million project to redo the façades on 22 downtown buildings, work has started on more than half of the buildings planned to get updates.
A total of 12 buildings are currently under construction, with two more set to begin this week, project manager John Shell said.
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The project, which is scheduled to be completed by the end of this year, is on schedule and any issues that have come up have been minimal, Shell said.
Crews started working on the buildings officials knew would take the longest. By starting on those first, it allowed the crews to learn about issues they may come across and how to handle them, Shell said. That way, as other buildings begin construction, if the owner wants construction to be completed within three weeks, rather than five or six, crews will be more experienced and will know the work that needs to be done and problems that could occur, Shell said.
So far, the biggest concern was with a beam that was broken on one of the buildings. Because of how old the building was, crews had to replace the beam, instead of simply repairing it to avoid structural issues, Shell said.
With construction going according to plan and on schedule, that leaves managing concerns and questions from building and business owners as the top priority for Shell. Every day, Shell walks door-to-door to check in on businesses in downtown Greenwood, making sure he hears about any concerns. And what he has learned is the hardest is managing expectations of those owners, Shell said.
“I’ve learned that we’re not going to get a building done quickly enough. We aren’t going to get materials here fast enough,” Shell said.
“But it’s positive feedback from building owners and tenants. They’re excited. It’s really neat to meet with people who are really trying to move downtown in a positive direction.”
As work begins on each building, some of the first questions Shell answers is how long until windows go in, new brick is installed and the restoration is complete, Shell said.
This week, Doug Johnson, owner of Nosnhoj Services, approached Shell with concerns and questions. Johnson’s building was one of the first to begin construction, but in the last week, work has halted while crews wait for materials to arrive.
New bricks and the limestone casting for the storefront, along with new windows, will be arriving during the next week and then installed, Shell told Johnson.
Shell not only checks in with building and business owners whose storefronts are currently under construction, but also talks to owners of the ones that are planned to begin later this year, Shell said.
“If we don’t have good communication, that’s my fault,” Shell said.
At the Blind Pig, owner Zach Kyle is looking forward to work beginning on his building’s façade because of the windows that will be installed, Shell said. Plans for the restoration call for windows that pop out and open upward. When the weather is nice, people walking by can see into the bar or hear the band playing, and decide to stop in, Shell said.
By the end of this week, crews will likely begin work on as many as two more buildings, Shell said. And the buildings already under construction with temporary wrap and boards over the space where windows will go should have brick and new windows installed in the next two weeks, Shell said.
“It’s going so well. I’m looking forward to a time when I might be able to announce the project is ahead of schedule,” Shell said.