Twin Falls Kicks Off Downtown Renovation Project
TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KLIX) – You’ll start to see more of the transformation of downtown Twin Falls over the coming months.
A crowd gathered Tuesday afternoon for a ceremony kicking off the city’s downtown revitalization project.
The ceremony followed the State of the City, an event sponsored by the Twin Falls Area Chamber of Commerce and held at the Orpheum Theater.
The makeshift groundbreaking ceremony – a row of shovels in a pile of dirt near the corner of Main Avenue and Shoshone Street – drew the attention of local business owners and residents.
A cool breeze floated through the crowd, but it didn’t seem to dampen the mood as the focus of the event turned to the past, present and future.
“You can’t have a future without the past and the present,” said Dan Brizee, chairman of the Urban Renewal Agency, who kicked off the ceremony with a short address about the many people from the past who helped make Twin Falls what it is today.
“We wouldn’t here today without them,” he said, “and Twin Falls wouldn’t be built on a 45-degree angle.”
The latter comment drew a few chuckles, but Brizee was serious when he said it took many to get to the place the city is at today.
“We’re going to be a little torn up for a while, but when all is said and done” it’ll be something residents will be proud of, he said.
The five-block renovation project, among other things, will include new sidewalks, curbs and gutters; upgraded infrastructure; and trees better fit for an urban setting. The project is scheduled to be complete sometime this fall.
“I think it’ll be a good thing,” said Twin Falls resident Kelly Human. “Right now, downtown looks pretty dated.”
Human remembers the old Perrine Hotel and the barber shop, where he used to come as a young man to get his hair cut. At one time, the hotel charged a minimal fee – “a penny or dime,” he said – to use its bathrooms.
Times have changed. The Perrine Hotel is but a memory, as are its pay toilets, and Human said he’s excited to see the next chapter for downtown once the revitalization project is complete.
Julie Deters, who with her mother Marjorie Deters and sister Heidi Deters, own Benno’s jewelry shop next to the future City Hall. They’ve been in business for 57 years, all of that time in downtown. Since 1970 they have been in the same location.
There is noise and dust that creep into the building at times because of the construction going on next door – and Deters said she doesn’t expect much shade this summer because the trees that once stood tall outside her building are now gone – but she said she also is excited for the future of downtown.
Once it’s complete, she hopes renovated Main Avenue will attract more foot traffic to its businesses.
Mayor Shawn Barigar thanked the community for its support, and encouraged residents to continue shopping downtown during the project, noting that any inconvenience experienced during the project is only temporary.
“Downtown is the heart and soul of Twin Falls,” he said. “Downtown is not the heart and soul of downtown. … Please, please, please, as residents of this community, support this inconvenience for the next few months.”