Cutting the Ribbon on the Hwy Project

By Sierra Lauder
Director of Events & Downtown Promotions

Last week, we gathered on a rainy afternoon on the Second Street Plaza with Sen. Betsy Johnson, Congressman Kurt Schrader, Mayor Weber and a variety of other community leaders and cut the ribbon on the highway project completion. It was a celebration of how far we’ve come as a downtown –  but before you call my office pointing out all the things still not finished with this project, let me offer you a metaphor:

Last Sunday morning I laid out the single biggest threat in my parenting toolbox: clean rooms by 4 p.m. or we’re shutting off the internet. Because my boys know that I am an inhuman robot with zero empathy for their Fortnite fascination they scramble. As we approach 4 o’clock they start to indicate that they’ve successfully finished their job. Some might even say they are “substantially complete” with their project.

Even if you don’t have kids, you have been a kid and you likely remember that the first “I’m done” of room cleaning is simply the beginning of the end. There is still a variety of inspections and things that were missed in the initial pass though, plus some negotiating about tasks that were implied but perhaps not clearly outlined…

This is really the perfect metaphor. The original project completion date that was projected as October 16th was pushed back to the end of October. The problem with the term “completion date” is that it implies a certain finality- almost as if a person could expect that the project was, in fact, complete.

The reality is that the project completion date is only the date that all of the items within the contract have been submitted for consideration. This is when my boys call me up to examine the room for the first time. There will still be another hour of pointing out missed socks under the bed and the water glass on the nightstand, (plus whatever is beside that water glass that may or may not have once been an apple core…)

That’s where we are now. There is a variety of details and finish work that are still underway that will continue past the completion date. Why have a completion date if it isn’t completed, you ask? The completion date sets the clock on the warranty. Once the project is agreed upon as “complete,” the contractor is still responsible for things like the maintence and life of the plants for one year from that date. While we will still see work after completion, it will mostly be repair or touch up work. Because there are so many contractors and jurisdictions involved, even the task of completing the “punch list” that captures where the dirty dishes are tucked and the cracks must be repaired is time consuming.

Some might still be skeptical of a ribbon cutting prior to completion, but as the rain sets in and the days grow shorter, I say “Let’s Celebrate!” The ribbon cutting last week doesn’t absolve anyone of cleaning up those last stinky socks, but it does give the community a chance to celebrate our beautiful new sidewalks and embrace the fact that downtown is open for business this holiday season.

Thank you to everyone who came out for this ceremonial act of cutting the ribbon. I hope that, even though the rains have returned with full force, you still get out  downtown and enjoy what we’ve all been waiting so long for!