City officials and staff, local business owners and employees and other members of the public gathered on the Main Street sidewalk between 101st and 102nd avenues to celebrate the start of the latest iteration of one of Bothell’s most well-known districts on Wednesday, March 29.
“This road has been here for over a century,” Bothell Mayor Andy Rheaume said, adding this Main Street Enhancement Project will be the third version of the road in the last 40 years or so. “It’s always been the place you go to get goods and services. … This is the historical heart of our city.”
City councilmembers and others involved with the project simply stuck shovels into sand that was poured on top of the existing Main Street sidewalk for the groundbreaking ceremony, as construction will actually start next week.
“April is our big month to get everything going in earnest,” Bothell Public Works Director Erin Leonhart said.
Westwater Construction Company will be paid more than $4.3 million for the Main Street Enhancement Phase One construction; KBA Inc. will be paid $430,500 for on-call construction management services; and BergerABAM will be paid $189,299 for construction engineering support services and $29,158 for engineering design services.
Funding for Main Street Enhancement Phase One comes from a $4.7 million Transportation Improvement Board (TIB) grant, a $986,000 federal design grant, $62,569 from the Main Street Enhancement Capital Fund and $295,000 from the Water Utility Fund.
TIB Engineer Greg Armstrong also spoke at the groundbreaking ceremony.
“I’m excited to see this project done,” he said. “I expect this construction to go smoothly.”
Rheaume referenced the fire that destroyed several businesses on Main Street last summer in his remarks. While the enhancement project was planned before the fire, it did help expedite the process. After seeing the damage it caused firsthand, Governor Jay Inslee wrote a letter to the TIB supporting funding of the enhancement project.
The project is part of Bothell’s Downtown Revitalization Plan, intended to make the historic section of downtown a viable and attractive location to work, live, visit and shop. The project has two phases; the first is from Bothell Way NE and 102nd Avenue NE, and the second is from 102nd Avenue NE to 104th Avenue NE/Kaysner Way.
Construction is planned to wrap up in November, just before the holiday shopping season. There is a $30,000 incentive in the contract for Westwater to reach that deadline.
“I want to thank the Main Street businesses for what they’re about to endure,” Rheaume said. “They will — more than ever — need your support.”
During construction, pedestrian access to storefronts will be maintained for the majority of the time, and city staff are encouraging business owners to make use of their back entrances for customers.
Nancy Pipinich, who owns State Farm Insurance on Main Street, spoke during the groundbreaking ceremony as well.
“Main Street is open for business,” she said, thanking the community for its support both during construction and in the aftermath of last year’s fire. “When our front doors are closed, our back doors will be open.”
Business owners and city staff are working together to ensure the Main Street businesses still attract customers during construction. An informational meeting on the project was held for business owners in January, and Leonhart said another meeting is tentatively planned for the third week in April.
Visitors to downtown Bothell are encouraged to park in the city hall garage, at 18415 101st Ave. NE, and Leonhart said the city hopes to have an additional temporary parking lot available for visitors to Main Street near the intersection of State Route 527 and Main Street during the construction.
For more information, visit www.bothellwa.gov/MSE. Business owners or visitors to Main Street who encounter issues during construction should call the hotline number at 425-806-6825.