Kids love to watch machines at work. And if you bring yours to downtown Huntsville to see the Main Street construction currently underway, they may just get their own hard hat to make them feel like part of the action.
Dufferin, the construction company in charge of the Diggin’ Downtown project, which is replacing aging infrastructure below street level, ordered play hard hats to help engage the community while still following COVID protocols.
“We at the BIA think it’s so fantastic that Dufferin has taken it upon themselves to engage the community,” said Downtown Huntsville BIA manager Morgan Richter. “The crew has been so lovely and friendly with the downtown patrons. I often see them asking folks where they’re going and ask if they need help navigating the construction zone.”
As often as he’s able to, the Dufferin superintendent walks around to chat with kids and gives them a hat. Soon some Main Street merchants may also be stocking a few behind their tills.
“When working on Main Street construction projects, I always find the young kids are so intrigued. Handing them a yellow construction hat brings so much joy,” says Landon Zavarella, assistant superintendent of Dufferin Construction. “We’re excited to continue supporting the Huntsville BIA on other initiatives to encourage visitation downtown and support local businesses, while respecting COVID-19 safety guidelines.”
In addition to the hard hats purchased by Dufferin, Battlefield CAT donated ballcaps and stickers that will also be handed out to kids. All will be distributed at random, while quantities last.
“The kids just light up when they put their hard hats on and it’s so great seeing how excited they get,” said Richter. “This initiative is especially important during these times when kids aren’t able to do as much. Not only does this put a smile on their faces but it’s fun for them to get outside in the fresh air and watch the construction.”
Richter says the BIA had envisioned the construction crew engaging the community but with COVID they had to rethink how that would happen.
Prior to the pandemic, they had planned to host a touch-a-truck event, an interactive day where kids could sit in the equipment and ask the crew questions.
Now, Richter is planning a project that would have community members paint some of the catch basins that will go underground.
“We think this will be a really fun creative outlet and a way for the community to be a part of the downtown construction,” she said. “One will be for the arts community, one will be for community groups such as Rotary, Community Living, the Chamber, or Muskoka Seniors, and one will be via an application process for anyone in the community to take part and we will be encouraging kids to come down. While they will be in the ground and never dug up, it’’ll be cool to feel a part of it all.”
Many community members are wondering how the construction is going and Richter says everything is on schedule.
“Because of the pandemic, businesses have learned how to sell online and facilitate curb-side pick up already,” she said. “The businesses are hoping for a busy summer and we are very optimistic since last summer proved to be busier than anticipated.”
Click here to watch a video update on some of the underground work being completed.
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