Uptown Waterloo to be open for holidays

Photo by Chad Butt
Photo by Chad Butt

GrandLinq recently announced that King Street in uptown Waterloo will be open to two-way traffic on Nov. 30.

Since February 2016, King Street, the main road running through uptown, has been closed due to LRT construction. Uptown Waterloo as a whole has now been under LRT construction since September 2014.

Michelle Maw, public relations and community liaison at Uptown Waterloo Business Improvement Area (BIA), explained that the BIA is very excited for King Street’s opening.

“We’re planning a big event in December throughout uptown Waterloo to celebrate the road being open,” she said.

The event, The Festival of Living Streets, will be held on Dec. 3 from 11 am to 4 pm and will be a celebration of movement within uptown Waterloo.

The event will be holiday themed and will feature a living gift guide of products provided by businesses within the BIA.

“It’s kind of like a Christmas window display. But instead of looking at product from one store, there’s going to be products from all sorts of stores throughout uptown waterloo. So you can come and look and maybe see a cool gift idea and then go to the actual store to buy it,” said Maw.

Santa Claus will be present at the event, as well as various activities and events, including live music and prize giveaways like Uptown Dollars, as well as gifts complimentary of various uptown businesses.

For businesses in uptown, King Street’s reopening will hopefully mean more traffic and a steady flow of customers to the area.

“I think that without question, construction has a significant effect on the core for businesses, especially ones that rely heavily on walking traffic,” said Maw.

Maw explained that there has not been a significantly elevated amount of turnover and closings this year.

In fact, only one to two of the businesses that have closed in uptown have said their closure was directly due to construction.

“It’s hard to separate businesses closing from construction from just businesses closing. For the most part, it’s just places that close because it was time for them to close,” she said.

Throughout LRT construction, the BIA has seen fewer pedestrians  walking around uptown; there have also been many destination businesses which have helped to bring shoppers and their purchasing to the area.

“With the construction, some people have chosen to make other plans and go elsewhere. It’s really important that the road is opening. We’re really excited for it,” said Maw.

King Street will be open just in time for the holiday shopping season, an extremely important time for retailers.

“I know a lot of businesses are hoping to make up a lot of sales in December for Christmas to help them out for the last little burst of the year,” Maw said.

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