Construction Complicates Shopping in One Community

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IOWA FALLS, Iowa –This is a crucial time of year for stores as they prepare for the holiday rush, but something is making shopping a little more difficult for people in one north central Iowa community.

It's beginning to look like Christmas in downtown Iowa Falls as shop owners get ready for the holiday shopping season. "We're just making it happen," said Raezy Paiges Owner Lorri McConnell-Brouer.

Jennifer Bicknese, owner of Copper Cupboard Bel Floral, said, "Iowa Falls is such a destination town, from the restaurants we have to the coffee house to the stores."

The only problem is it’s difficult for shoppers to get into some of the stores this year. "We've been doing a streetscape, we've been planning it for over 20 years," said Iowa Falls City Manager Jody Anderson.

Crews started digging up downtown in April. They went block-to-block, improving the alleys, sidewalks and streets. It's a $7 million project that really hit the stores during the summer. Bicknese said, "We've already been through a hardship through the summer. We weren't anticipating having the streetscape here quite this long, so it has eaten into our November, but we're going to be fine."

Crews are now working on the last block. It should be finished by the end of November, depending on the weather. "Once this is over and we've all lived through this together, this town is going to be absolutely beautiful," said Bicknese.

Downtown store owners want to get the word out that they're open for business. They have several holiday events planned, including a Shop Hop from 4 to 7 Thursday. Stores will give out Chamber Bucks.

Santa will make an appearance on December 12th during a Sip and Shop event. Store owners say it will be a great chance to show off their new downtown. McConnell-Brouer said, "We've got it going on, we really do. We’re just a great town.”

Bicknese said, "The stores are really trying to promote just getting people here.”

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