(BLOG) – A lot is happening in downtown Twin Falls. Several construction projects are going on now, transforming the area into a more modern setting.

If you live in the city, no doubt you have seen the construction projects. But if you live elsewhere in the valley, you might be surprised at the changes.

Photo by Andrew Weeks

New City Hall
The largest project is being done at the former Banner Furniture building on Hansen Street East and Main Avenue East, which will become Twin Falls’ new City Hall when the building opens this fall.

The nearly 50,000 square-foot building is enough space to grow and meet city needs for the next several decades. The main level will welcome visitors with a modern lobby and have departments accessed more frequently by the general public. The mezzanine will be expanded to a full second floor and hold construction services departments such as engineering and planning and zoning. The third floor will house the economic development, human resources, finances and IT departments.

Construction is on schedule, with an opening planned for October. The city’s new Public Safety building also will be completed by fall.

Photo by Andrew Weeks

Main Avenue Project
For those who mourn the loss of Main Avenue’s 40-year-old trees, don’t worry – new trees are coming. Right now, the avenue looks pretty bare and, in some parts, beat up. Crews have been on site for the past couple of weeks doing renovation work on the first of five blocks.

That first block includes the section from Shoshone Street to Gooding Street. Each of the five blocks – from Jerome Street to Fairfield Street – will have new sidewalks, curbs and gutters, lighting and trees. Infrastructure will be improved and the road will receive new paving.

Crews have two months to get each block finished, Project Supervisor Rob Clonginger recently told News Radio 1310. Planting of the trees – an array of urban-friendly species – will be the last of the work to be completed.

Don’t worry, pedestrian access to shops and restaurants remain open. The Main Avenue project is scheduled for completion this fall just in time for the opening of the new City Hall.

Climbing Center
If Hailey Barnes has her way, her downtown project will be completed before any of the city’s project are done. But then again, she’s already met her challenges: her project – a 15,000-square-foot climbing gym at the corner of Fifth Avenue and Shoshone Street – was delayed at least twice because of a heavy winter.

Photo by Andrew Weeks

“It’s been frustrating,” she told News Radio in early March. “We’re just waiting on Mother Nature to give us a break.”

Mother Nature has since cooperated, and construction of the building is well underway. Once complete, 12,000-square feet will be designated as climbing space. Its ceilings will reach some 40 feet tall. It also will have yoga and physical therapy rooms.

The gym will be staffed by three to four full-time employees and a handful of part-time workers. Barnes said the part-time shifts will be good for high school and college students who need to pad their wallets while they continue their studies.

The gym will be opened seven days a week, with several hours in the morning open to members only. But from about 10 a.m. on the facility will be open to the general public.

All of these projects are helping to change the face of downtown. But as Dan Brizee, chairman of the Urban Renewal Agency, said at the groundbreaking of the city's Main Avenue project on April 11, "We’re going to be a little torn up for a while, but when all is said and done” residents will be proud of the finished product.