"If this is done right, it can help," he said. "But also, with the economy the way that it is, it can put someone ever the edge, and we don't want that either."
Southall and Josh Karrick told the group the construction plan will be unlike what occurred when the city of Paris underwent a similar renovation of its downtown. Instead of the contractors tearing up all the downtown sidewalks at one time, the Nicholasville project will be done in segments.
"It's a block-by-block process," Karrick said. "Instead of having the contractor come in and do demolition on all three blocks, we will require them to only do demolition on one block, and as soon as that's over, they'll start the concrete work and come back down and finish it. Then they'll start the demolition on the second block and repeat that process."
Southall and Karrick said construction will take eight to 10 months, which includes the bidding process.
Davis also voiced concern about doing the work over the fall and winter months, saying that winter weather will delay the project and cause other problems which will not only affect his business, but the other businesses in that area.
Southall and Karrick said it is unlikely downtown business flow will be interrupted much because of the requirement for the contractors to build wooden walkways leading into the businesses so customers can access the business.
Deeken reiterated that the lack of parking will greatly affect his and other businesses.
"There's no parking downtown now," he said.
It was pointed out that the city and the county have recently completed a public parking lot at the corner of Oak and First streets, but Deeken scoffed at that, saying the lot was always full and only holds, "24-25 spaces, maybe."
But Nicholasville Streets Superintendent Gary Goldey said the lot has 42 parking spaces, and the other public parking lots in the downtown area, which include a 54-space lot on Walnut Street, across from the health department, and a 12-space lot at the corner of York and Maple streets, are rarely used to their capacity. He estimated on a day-to-day basis that those lots are used to about a third of their capacity.
Southall said while the parking on Main Street itself will be hindered during the construction phase, residents and businesses need to be aware of the parking options.
"Part of parking is education," he said. "It's getting people to know where the parking is; it's getting employees not to park on Main Street, and that then frees up the Main Street parking for the customers."
Addressing the parking issue, Davis asked if the city could speak with the downtown churches to see if they'd be willing to offer spaces during the construction phase, which would ease some burden. Moreover, Davis also asked that the city enforce the parking time limits to the fullest.
"If we start this, we need to find alternate parking for employees and business owners to park," he said.
Darlene Gardner with Nicholasville Now chimed in saying that at the very first public meeting regarding the downtown streetscape plan in December 2007, the city promised to put signs up letting commuters know where the downtown public parking lots were. She asked the city to follow up on that commitment.
"People are going to have to walk a little bit, maybe a block," she said.
Downtown parks questioned
Deeken also questioned the need for the three parks in downtown Nicholasville.
The plan does call for three parks: A Music Park at the corner of Oak and Main streets that could be used for outdoor performances such as concerts and festivals; Vineyard Square located just behind the music park, an open air outdoor plaza with water features that could be used for festival type events; and Palisades Park on York and Maple streets along Town Branch which would have a limestone wall and green spaces with seats.
"I know I haven't been involved in this before the mayor came to see me, but what is the purpose of the parks?" he asked.