Main street expected to be ‘back to normal’ for horse parade, Small Business Saturday Nov. 29-30
Pelican Rapids downtown businesses scrambled to adapt to an unexpected street repair–as the holiday shopping season ramped up Nov. 22-23.
Merchants were caught unaware, when MnDOT officials and crews showed up this week–shutting down parking and diverting traffic lanes.
Facing the most significant impact is Matt Strand, Strand Ace Hardware and home center. Strand has been gearing up for months to host a major, two-day grand opening. The project eliminated parking stalls on main street, which is also U.S. Highway 59.
Grand opening promotions continued as planned–including Traeger cooking classes and wood carving demos. The large parking lot to the west off main street was encouraged, including the rear entrance that enables shoppers to accesss Ace and as well as the rest of downtown business district.
Merchants were also concerned about the scheduled Nov. 29 holiday kick-off “Lighted Horse Parade.” The streets are expected to be opened up by then, but there was a fear of the unknown if crews encountered anything unexpected below ground.
Merchants and businesses have been critical of both the city and Minnesota Department of Transportation for the short notice and lack of communication on the project–coming so near the holiday season, and with several downtown promotions long-scheduled. Strand noted however that, once MnDOT officials were fully informed of the situation downtown, crews were responsive in expediting the project. By Friday afternoon, crews were pouring concrete and the gaping hole in front of the Strand storefront was patched.
The repairs involve a storm sewer line. Pelican’s underground utilities, some 70 years old or more, are scheduled for a massive reconstruction with the U.S. Hwy 59 project in 2024, but the current storm sewer repair, though temporary, was necessary as storm water was leaking below the surface, and draining into the Pelican River.
The good news: Downtown should be “back to normal” for Pelican’s famous “Lighted Horse Parade” Nov. 29, 6:30 p.m.
Visitors and shoppers are reminded that there will be cones out all day Nov. 29. Motorists can park between the cones during the day, but are asked to move the cars away from the one block downtown business district, in order to open up the street for the parade.