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April 23, 2014- Our View "Street project to boost economy"

We’ve all sat in our vehicles frustrated by road construction delays and one-way alternating traffic managed by seemingly inefficient workers. That won’t likely change anytime soon.

But the outcome of road work just getting under way in Omak may be well worth the wait.

State officials are starting into a project that will resurface the main thoroughfare through downtown Omak and Okanogan. In Omak, the work is being done in conjuction with a much-needed streetscaping.

The actual paving won’t occur for at least two more months. But let’s face it, downtown Omak is long overdue for a facelift.

For more than a year, downtown business leaders and city officials have been working on plans to beautify the downtown core and make it more pedestrian-friendly. The project includes “bulb-outs,” lighting, seating and improved sidewalks. And it includes a fresh coat of asphalt on Main Street.

To fully explain the project, the state Department of Transportation has scheduled a community meeting for 5:30 tonight at its 28862 U.S. Highway 97 office in Okanogan.

The public session promises to be a good place to ask questions about the project before any road rage sets in while driving through town. So, take time to learn about the project and what it means to both Omak and Okanogan.

The next time you drive through the streetscape area, take note of the changes happening before your eyes. Take note of the improvements as they take shape. Take time to remember that although you may be temporarily delayed, our community will be a better place when streetscaping is complete.

In the end, the effort could help bring business back to downtown Omak.

This project could be the kickstart the Omak-Okanogan economy needs to bring stores, restaurants and jobs back. That kickstart will be well worth the wait during construction.

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