The front loaders, backhoes and bobcats are gone, and it’s time to celebrate. To mark the completion of its multi-year downtown infrastructure improvement project, the City of Wheaton invites the community to attend the Downtown Streetscape Project Celebration on Saturday, May 20. This free family-friendly event will take place near the new pavilion at Main Street and Liberty Drive with music, activities, and more, in partnership with the Downtown Wheaton Association. The event will also celebrate the grand opening of Bensidoun’s French Market in its new pavilion location.
Please note: The date of this event has changed from what was originally shared in the April City newsletter.
Schedule of events:
- Starting at 9 a.m.: DJ
- 9 a.m.-noon: Stilt walker & juggler
- 10 a.m.-1 p.m.: Face painting
- 10:30 a.m.: Remarks, ribbon-cutting and French Market Grand Opening
After years of planning and construction, the community can now enjoy the results of the City’s Downtown Streetscape Project. This $35 million investment in the City’s infrastructure and amenities is among the largest projects in the City’s history.
Underground work included replacing water main and sanitary sewers throughout much of the downtown area, some of which were more than a century old. Above ground, wider sidewalks for pedestrians and outdoor dining are flanked by an “amenity zone” near the curb with permeable pavers to create better drainage. New trees and planters throughout the downtown, numerous bike racks, benches and a bicycle repair station are among other upgrades for residents and visitors to enjoy.
The City prioritized sustainability throughout this project, including replacing streetlights with energy-efficient LED models, installing solar panels on the pavilion roof, using native plants in the landscaping and creating conditions for a greater tree canopy to shade the downtown in future years.
The new Martin Plaza near Front and Main and gathering areas near the new pavilion on the south side of the railroad tracks create places for people to enjoy all the downtown has to offer. These spaces also provide additional opportunities for community programming and a new place for Bensidoun’s French Market, which opened April 8 under the new pavilion.
“This project has been in the works for more than a decade, and it took a tremendous amount of planning and coordination to complete a project of this scope – especially with the arrival of the pandemic,” said Assistant City Manager John Duguay, who served as the project manager. “While we worked to mitigate disruptions to local businesses and traffic as much as possible, we appreciate the cooperation and flexibility of our downtown businesses and our community throughout this process.”
During the ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark the end of the project and the opening of the new pavilion, City officials will recognize the many partners involved in this project, help celebrate the official grand opening of the new French Market location, and celebrate the positive results of this project.
“It’s rewarding to see this investment in our infrastructure and our community already spurring growth,” said City Manager Michael Dzugan. “As intended, these improvements have helped make Wheaton an even more desirable place to live or to locate a business. Several private redevelopment projects are underway, new restaurants are opening, and the downtown has even more to offer our community.”
Parking options for this event include the Willow Avenue garage, the Wheaton Place garage, on-street parking throughout the downtown, and the City Hall parking lot at Wesley Street and Wheaton Avenue.