Downtown Williston Facelift Completed

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A facelift to part of downtown Williston is finished. Construction from the train depot to Broadway Avenue and city officials say it was right on schedule.

"We initially looked at this project, even though it was bid as a one year project, the city looked at this as most likely a two year effort," says Williston Public Works director David Tuan. "Being that we started a little later in the spring there was good deal of work to get done and a lot of concrete to pour."

The city is banning business owners from pouring salt on the new sidewalks because the salt would damage the new concrete. But, with some warmer weather and the finished construction, businesses are now open and thriving.

"Heddrich's is open again and, more people you know are taking advantage of being able to park on the street again," says Karissa Kjos, who is the executive director of Williston Downtowners Association. "Going into those businesses you know regularly, so I think they've been doing just as well as they were before if not better."

New traffic lights and street lights will light up downtown at night and improve traffic flow.

"Very bad period of traffic signals getting struck by truck traffic and trailers." says Tuan. "So we're constantly replacing poles and replacing lights. Now we have poles that are set in better spots so they're a little more reliable."

The finished area now has three driving lanes. That might be hard for drivers to get used to, but some people say the changes help downtown look better.

"Kind of keeping up with Bismarck and Fargo and everywhere else's downtowns," says Kjos. "Now hopefully we can work on the facades of the building. Still keep them historic, but you know updating those, whether it's putting more flowers in or repainting. So, it really just kind of revamping and giving downtown that new image."

And after completing the first part of the project, the city says it's more prepared for phase two.

Tuan says he hopes construction should resume in the spring, but there's no timetable yet.