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Residents of Stephenville have been noticing more ease in walking along Main Street this winter.
That’s because the town council has put more efforts by its public works department into clearing the sidewalks.
In past years there were businesses that never cleared their sidewalks, resulting in pedestrians having to walk around and even into the street in places.
It was difficult when vehicles were parked on the side of the street.
Those efforts are welcome by those who use the sidewalks.
Despite that, it’s been a difficult winter for falls due to ice in many places, including parking lots, sidewalks and walkways.
Its one of those freeze-thaw-freeze winters that has been perfect for ice-making, then it gets snow-covered and makes it difficult to see where the ice is located. Slip-and-falls are easy in those conditions.
With that much ice around, its difficult to keep up with it in certain areas and spread enough slip prevention material.
Over and above the efforts by the public works department in clearing the sides of Main Street, many businesses have put a good effort into keeping the sidewalks in front of their buildings slip free.
In addition to that, many businesses have been modernizing, while retaining the historic character of Main Street – what some call the “boom town” feel from back when the Ernest Harmon Air Force Base came to Stephenville.
There have been comments by visitors through the years about how Stephenville’s Main Street, with buildings having false fronts, reminded them of that style in areas that grew up quickly with a “western” or “gold rush” look.
There has been quite a bit of work done along Main Street for several decades now, from new streetlighting to interlocking brick work and flowers hung out on businesses in the summer time.
Now a new master plan has been drawn up, with a special feature of a town square but also for businesses to take part, if they wish, with exterior improvements.
Some business owners have already said they plan to buy into it and are willing to take suggestions for exterior property improvements by the designers of the master plan.
Despite pressures from online shopping, if downtown businesses are to survive, buying into improvements and the master plan is important.
Sidewalk clearing is a good start and there should be lots more to come as money becomes available to implement the plan.