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Crews install mosaics as first phase of Lodi Avenue project winds down; businesses see decline in customers

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Posted: Saturday, June 19, 2010 12:00 am

Ismael Carillo Jr. and Leonel Barragan grabbed one of the mosaic tiles and shoved it into the jiggly, wet concrete as they installed the first mosaic in the sidewalk of Lodi Avenue on Friday morning.

In the streets, the workers used paving machines to finish the final details in the first phase of a project to renovate one of Lodi's main streets.

The new street includes smooth pavement, sidewalks with brick pavers at intersections and crosswalks, decorative concrete and street lights.

Granite Construction, the city-hired contractor, plans to secure the mosaics by pressing them into the concrete and then mortaring around them, said Gary Wiman, construction manager for the city.

The 24 mosaics were designed by residents who submitted them to Project Lodi Art, a community-wide effort overseen by the city's Arts Commission to get people involved in art projects. About 200 volunteers then helped create the mosaics.

Wiman said the project is a couple days behind schedule because of rain and some unknown storm drain issues that construction crews encountered. The finished portion of Lodi Avenue between the railroad tracks and Washington Street will reopen to traffic on Monday. At the same time, the city will close Lodi Avenue between Washington and Garfield streets.

Federal stimulus money is funding a majority of the $2.5 million project, which spans from the railroad tracks to Cherokee Lane. It is scheduled to be completed by Oct. 26.

Because the construction has shut down the entire street, businesses have tried to reach out to customers to let them know they are still open.

About 15 to 20 people have called Good Year Tokay Tire to ask the best way to get to the shop during construction, said Chuck Henderson, the service manager of Good Year Tokay Tire Inc. Still, the shop has lost about 10 to 15 percent of its customers.

He hopes removing the railroad tracks will make the road smoother.

"I've been here 19 years, and it's always been a rough road," Henderson said. "Most people, no matter where they live, come down Lodi Avenue."

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The Music Box has seen an even larger decline in customers. Owner Evelyn Olson, who bought the business in 1974, said that even before construction began she had noticed a decline in customers because of the economy and schools canceling beginner band classes.

"We really got a triple whammy," Olson said. "Hopefully, we'll recover. You pray a lot."

Employee Rick Duncan estimates there has been a 50-percent decline in sales. He said the project will be a benefit to the city, but has really harmed the businesses.

"We have a huge amount of money to try and recover. There's a deficit in the checkbook," he said.

Even though it has been a struggle, Olson said watching the actual construction has been interesting. She often talks with the construction workers, and said she has learned more about the process of putting in a street.

Part of the project is to remove old railroad tracks that were paved over. Olson even saved some of the railroad spikes the workers pulled out of the street.

"We hope this street out here turns into everything Lodi wants it to be," she said.

Contact reporter Maggie Creamer at maggiec@lodinews.com. Read her blog at www.lodinews.com/blogs/citybuzz.

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  • posted at 5:53 pm on Sun, Jun 20, 2010.


    just to let everybody know commercial trucks are registerd on the front plate this being because they usually have a trailer behind them and if you lokk at the side of them they have a weight badge of atlest 15000 pounds or more and the current year of chp inspection on them so please dont complain unless you know the facts

  • posted at 6:11 am on Sun, Jun 20, 2010.


    T&C: those are permanant vehicle plates, which do not use vinyl tags anymore. Each vehicle owner pays about $15,000 to register each year, but to save money, CA doesn't send tags anymore. Without being properly registered and fees paid and proof of ongoing insurance, they don't get driven on public streets. I wouldn't mind seeing the same thing applied to Class C vehicles. No more tags to steal, cheaper and easier to administer.

  • posted at 3:16 am on Sun, Jun 20, 2010.


    Can't wait to see them all removed because they "cause loitering" like the benches downtown!!!

  • posted at 3:14 am on Sun, Jun 20, 2010.


    Love how the city has money for art projects but not our children!!! Way to go Lodi!!!

  • posted at 2:36 pm on Sat, Jun 19, 2010.


    IMO is right---This project is a great example of how government spreads stimulus (borrowed money)around to create jobs. The solar trash cans are an even more ridiculous example of wasteful stimulus spending. We are spending money we do not have.

  • posted at 1:47 pm on Sat, Jun 19, 2010.


    Rather see them spend it on that project than solar garbage cans!!!!!!!!

  • posted at 1:43 pm on Sat, Jun 19, 2010.


    IMO - What's a pinto? I do think the mosaics are very pretty.

  • posted at 12:50 pm on Sat, Jun 19, 2010.


    I'd rather have Granite do the job instead of the same old Diede crews. Aren't they still patching their School Street poor workmanship? And doing contract work at LEUD? Just who is giving them these contracts?

  • posted at 8:33 am on Sat, Jun 19, 2010.


    Is it just me, or hasn't anyone else noticed that Many Many of the Contractor trucks and TRAILERS are missing California License Tabs, both month and year? The biggest two offenders were the green Granite construction vechicles/trailers... and the asphalt trailers, esp. The long hook-up bar trailers that were parked on E.Oak Street.I can assure you during the next phase they will all be properly licensed or ticketed. What gives million dollar contractors the right to give the finger to registering their vehicles and trailers, while everyone else not licensed, are cited by LPD?Since this problem has already been brought to the attention of Jeanie Biskup at jbiskup@pd.lodi.gov one must expect that LPD will make the effort to cite these Contractors, as dedicatedly as they do for regular drivers on Turner, Lower Sac, and Kettleman lane.No one should be "Above the Law".

  • posted at 8:22 am on Sat, Jun 19, 2010.


    veryconcerned1 wrote on Jun 19, 2010 12:25 PM:" I very much agree with IMO. Less wasteful spending. Less government. More responsilibity. This project could have been handled by keeping 1 lane open each way during construction...Happens every day on the freeway. "Agreed! This is just Granite trying to rush the project using stimulus money so they don't have to eat into their profit margin on a longer timeline.

  • posted at 7:25 am on Sat, Jun 19, 2010.


    I very much agree with IMO. Less wasteful spending. Less government. More responsilibity. This project could have been handled by keeping 1 lane open each way during construction...Happens every day on the freeway.

  • posted at 7:13 am on Sat, Jun 19, 2010.


    not what i'd call a feel good story. i don't care if it's at home, or in the community, if you don't have the money to be spending on extras, you don't get the extras. living like a mercedes on a pinto salary. borrowing money in order to get out of debt. nobody in their right mind would think that, would they...what, you're unable to afford health care? well, allow me to assist you. what, don't bother, the govt gotcha covered. i don't need to contribute, the govt is mandating that i do. my choice or not.decrease govt. decrease spending. decrease taxes. conservative common sense solutions.



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