Ped Mall businesses feel renovation effect

Some businesses on College Street are being affected by Phase 2 of the Pedestrian Mall construction project.


Michael Guhin

The Iowa City Ped Mall is seen on Monday, June 17th, 2019. (Michael Guhin/The Daily Iowan)

Tian Liu, News Reporter

As Pedestrian Mall construction continues, some businesses on College Street have felt the effects of having construction at their doors.

The pavement removal and replacement along the north side of College Street, from Yotopia to Brothers, is ongoing. Michelle Galvin, the owner of Velvet Coat, said her store on the Ped Mall had to close Monday because of the construction at the store’s front door.

The construction workers have worked a long day to ensure the store would only have to close for one day, so she feels as if they have been excellent people to work with.

“They are working very hard so that we don’t have to close for very long, and I really appreciated that,” Galvin said. “Even though [the construction is] inconvenient, I’m pleased that the project is happening.”

She started to have conversations with the city a month ago and has received weekly updates. That gave her business enough time to prepare for temporarily closing, she said.

“Once we knew it was actually today, we started to post [on social media] to let our customers know,” she said.

Phase 2 of the Ped Mall improvements started in mid-May.

The construction workers have made significant progress in the past month, the city of Iowa City said on its website; they have finished the pavement replacement along the Union Bar and Revival.

“[Construction] has made a bit of impact, but it hasn’t been dramatic as we originally thought it would be,” Revival owner Sheila Davisson said.

Revival is a new, used, and vintage women’s clothing boutique, according to its website.

She said that the construction is moving very fast, and the city has been thoughtful about how it can quickly undertake projects and not affect the store’s traffic flow.

“I felt like we have a lot of regular customers who truly are seeming to come out to support us knowing that we are kind of facing a hard summer and fall; [I] have appreciated that,” she said.

Davisson agreed with Galvin that the city has been more than helpful with communication and keeping store owners up to date.

“They are ahead of schedule … I feel like they are moving faster than they were doing Phase 1,” Davisson said. “So we are fortunate in that sense to be this end of [Phase 2], because it seems [to be] a system that moves quicker.”

Paula Forest, who frequents the Ped Mall, said she doesn’t think the construction has affected people heading to the Ped Mall. She usually stops at the Iowa City Public Library, she said.

“I read about it in the paper. As it is coming, I know it’s going to take time,” Forest said. “I think they did [a good job of informing people about the construction]. Of course, if you don’t read the paper or listen to the news, you may not know about it. But those of us who do are aware.”