By Gari Voss
The official Ribbon Cutting for the Allegan Downtown Improvement Project / Streetscape on Sat., Nov. 25, 2023, brought a couple hundred people to the new Trowbridge Plaza near Minnie’s. The gathering afforded the opportunity to celebrate the dream of revitalizing Downtown Allegan.
City Manager Joel Dye stated, “Together we have witnessed this dream become a reality. It has been more than a construction effort. It has been a testament to our commitment to progress, resilience, and the vibrant future for our community.”
Dye thanked all project partners then extended heart-felt gratitude to those who made the project a success. It began with the talented engineers of Abonmarche Consultants – their expertise, innovation and dedication that was instrumental in designing the vision.
The hard work and craftmanship of Milbocker & Sons took the project from the drawing board to the streets. Dye acknowledged their skill and commitment to excellence not only transformed the streets but brought a vitality to Downtown for years to come.
The true unsung heroes have been the local business owners and employees. Dye recognized, “This hasn’t been easy. There have been challenges and disruptions, but these people persevered with grace and resilience while working toward a greater good. This has been a testament to what can happen when a community comes together supporting one another through thick and thin.”
Taylor Bentley, the new executive director of Allegan Area Chamber of Commerce, thanked all for meeting the challenges with unwavering patience and dedication which demonstrated their commitment to the City of Allegan. She stated, “The tenacity of business owners showed the spirit that makes Allegan special,”
Bentley reminded the gathering of the new businesses that made the decision to open during a time of transformation that indicates the potential they see in the City of Allegan.
“You have emerged from the process stronger and more vibrant than ever. We can now showcase the Downtown that is not just revitalized but reimagined,” stated Bentley. “As we enter the holiday season, I am filled with the excitement of the prosperity that awaits our local businesses. The improved infrastructure, enhanced aesthetics, and renewed energy will undoubtably attract shoppers to the charm of Downtown Allegan.”
The new mayor Roger Bird spoke for the City Council in thanking businesses, residents and customers for their energy and support in helping this happen.
“This is an amazing city. The Downtown Allegan Improvement Project is a testament to the strength and determination of our community. None of it would be possible without you, our residents. You are the heartbeat of Allegan which is shown in the number of people who came out on this frosty morning.,”
Bird continued. “As we cut this ribbon, let’s not just consider the completion of a construction project, but a new chapter for Allegan of progress, unity, and shared success. Together we can build a city that we are all proud to call home.”
State Senate Minority Leader Aric Nesbitt was invited to the podium. Senator Nesbitt was the driving factor that brought $2 million in state funding to the project. As he remembered the decision more than a year and a half ago to move forward with such an in depth endeavor, he marveled at the new Streetscape and how it added to the revitalization of Allegan.
With that, Mayor Bird took the scissors, the ribbon was strung, the crowd moved in, and the cutting signified the beginning of a new chapter for the City of Allegan.