WENATCHEE — This summer, the space just south of Pybus Public Market will be filled with European-style pavers, new sidewalks, lighting, landscaping and retractable bollards.
Construction started this week on the new plaza, which will also include a fountain and, in the future, a sculpture. Work is expected to finish in July.
Total project cost will be about $510,000, including construction, architectural and engineering fees, said Pybus Executive Director Steve Robinson.
The city is putting $240,000 in state Local Revitalization Financing toward the project and will maintain the underground utilities. The Pybus Market Charitable Foundation is footing the rest of the bill and is responsible for constructing and maintaining the plaza.
“We’re very hopeful that it adds to the overall ambiance of this amazing building,” Robinson said. “The low-cost approach would have been just to asphalt it, but we wanted to put in more of a European paver feel to it. We think that’s consistent with everything we do at Pybus, which is to create a unique visitor experience.”
Robinson said the plaza has been planned since the market opened in May 2013, but it took time to get ready. The project will eliminate the dirt, rocks and potholes that have caused problems over the years, he said.
He appreciates everyone’s patience during construction.
“Between now and Friday, July 12, when the project’s estimated to be complete, we’re going to lose upwards of 25 parking stalls,” he said. “That’s frustrating, but there’s no other way around it when you’re trying to build and you have an operating business going on.”
Twelve parking stalls will be retained, but the space will sometimes be closed off for events like fundraising walks or farmers markets. The large gravel lot south of where the plaza will be is privately owned.
Whitebird Construction is the contractor, and Brad Brisbine of MJ Neal Associates is the architect.
Pedestrians will still be able to access the stairs and ramp leading down into the Wenatchee Riverfront Park, said Daryn Klinginsmith, Pybus Market Charitable Foundation board member and building committee chairman. However, construction will make things less convenient for motorists.
“This big gravel parking lot probably will have, at any given time, 20-50 feet blocked off,” Klinginsmith said.
He said the plaza will serve to connect downtown to the waterfront.
“When it’s all said and done, it’ll be worth it,” he said.
Bridget Mire: 665-1179
on Twitter @bridget_mire