CAMBRIDGE — After nearly seven months, the 500 block of Race Street was reopened to traffic on Monday, May 16.
Residents and downtown business owners are rejoicing that this hindrance has been resolved.
Mark Simmons, owner of Mark’s Mulch, said his business has been down nearly thirty percent, owing largely to the lack of access caused by the street closure.
In late October 2015, the 100-year-old building suffered a partial collapse of its south wall, prompting the closure of the street and a portion of the sidewalk due to safety concerns.
More than $600,000 in grant money was awarded to design and complete the stabilization of the building’s front facade. Work began on the project in late March.
“I’m frustrated that it took seven months to get it done, but I’m extremely pleased with the cooperation among the city, county and state to come up with the necessary funding, and to get the work done locally on site. We hired local contractors, and are very happy with the work they have done,” said Dorchester County Council president and downtown business owner Ricky Travers.
According to the county, the next phase of the project will involve removing the debris from inside the building and stabilizing the south wall. Cost and funding sources for further work have not yet been determined.
“To date, no local taxpayer money was used on the project,” Travers said. “It is a blessing to see the street open right now, and we look now to move to the next step.”
The eventual goal for the Hearn building is to put the property in the hands of a developer who will restore it.
The city and county will continue to work in coordination in regards to the property.