Staff from several businesses in Loose Creek say they are cautiously optimistic about MODOT's Highway 50 widening project, set for completion in September of this year.
Staff at Bescheinen Family Furniture say they are anticipating a slight decrease in pass-through traffic after Highway 50 is rerouted, but they do not think the change will hurt their bottom line.
"We will have a little less of the "just traveling through" traffic, but we will still continue to have customers," said General Manager Stephanie Wright. "Like I said, we're an established business so it's not a big concern."
However, Sales Associate Kathleen Kliethermas said the true impact of the MODOT highway widening project remains unknown at this time. "I'm not sure, I guess we'll really have to wait and see how much it's really going to hurt us, if it is going to hurt us," Kliethermas said.
The $25.5 million project is set to be completed sometime this fall.
Even though some Loose Creek residents are okay with the highway bypassing their town, many of them wish MODOT had listened more to their concerns back when planning first started over ten years ago.
Lenny Borgmeyer of Loose Creek Oil Company said if MODOT wanted to meet with residents before the project is completed, he would gladly attend a meeting to share his concerns. "Part of it is the way they went about it," Borgmeyer said. "They just went right around the town."
Much work remains to be done before nearly seven miles of new highway opens to traffic. As they prepare for the change, Loose Creek residents said the spirit of their community will survive no matter what.
"I don't think it's going to affect life in Loose Creek," Kliethermas said. "Loose Creek is a town that has been here a long time. Residents know one another. It's not going to affect life in Loose Creek at all. Loose Creek is still going to be Loose Creek."