Crews put finishing touches on downtown Stillwater pedestrian plaza

Work wrapping up on Stillwater pedestrian plaza

Work wrapping up on Stillwater pedestrian plaza

This week crews are wrapping up work on a new pedestrian plaza in downtown Stillwater.

It’s the end of a long stretch of construction for that area.

Stillwater Mayor Ted Kozlowski says it’s been a priority for the city for a long time.

“The construction on the bridge project and all of this, this is really the finishing touch of what started 10 years ago,” Kozlowski said.       

Stillwater’s new Chestnut Street Plaza stretches from Main Street to the St. Croix River.

“It’s so much better coming down here,” said Deanne Wessel, who lives in Stillwater.

The Stillwater Lift Bridge closed to vehicle traffic in 2017 after the new St. Croix Crossing Bridge opened, starting the transformation of this area.

“When the bridge was open, you’d have semi-trucks just rolling through this. It was almost like a brick wall going right through the middle of our town,” Kozlowski said.

Kozlowski says it’s made way for a much more pedestrian-friendly, safer downtown.

“Just getting those cars out of here made this a much calmer place and a natural place to build a plaza for people to enjoy,” Kozlowski said.

“There’s no traffic, you don’t have to look both ways and be worried about getting run over,” said Jackie Valerius, who lives in Stillwater.

It’s welcome news for nearby businesses.

“We’re ready to have it done,” said Madie Linka, with MN Nice Cream.

MN Nice Cream is one of several shops right along the new plaza.

“We’re super excited about this, we’re hoping that it’ll bring a lot more people to our store,” Linka said. 

For the last decade or so, construction is an all too familiar sight for downtown Stillwater.

“Our downtown has been impacted by construction for a decade, and this is the last bit, and it’s really one of the coolest parts of the whole project,” Kozlowski said.

Brick by brick, the long-awaited vision by many is complete.

“It’s just got a whole different feel to it,” Wessel said.

According to the city, there is still some closures set to take place in the area for work on utilities and traffic lights. For more information on when visit the city’s website.