From the Lewiston Tribune
Pavement and sidewalks were obliterated. Huge machines growled up and down Oak Street, chewing up dirt and gravel and spitting it back out in preparation for a new road bed. People wishing to visit the bank or the grocery store had to find alternate places to park their cars - sometimes blocks away.
The town survived the makeover and Monday, even though the new road construction was not clearly visible under a floor of packed snow, about 50 people showed up to celebrate the completion of the $1.4 million project and the town's new library and community center.
Nezperce Mayor Steve A. Bateman did the honors, welcoming representatives of the contractors, the grant coordinators and the Idaho Department of Transportation who, he said, made the project possible.
"We're very happy. The town's very happy, the people are happy, the business owners are very excited and we've got some projects to finish," Bateman said. That includes planter strips, tables and chairs on the sidewalks and decorative plants. "So it will look really nice when we're finished."
The work began when the transportation department decided to upgrade the pavement on the three blocks of Oak Street - which is the main drag through town and also is State Highway 167.
The city had to guarantee its 100-year old sewer system, which ran under the street, would last at least another 20 years. Bateman said that's when the town started looking for grants and ran a bond election to pay for the sewer renovation. In addition, the town needed to upgrade its 50-year-old sewer lagoon.
"It was nice the citizens backed us up on this project," Bateman said. "It was like 88 percent when we passed the bond to do this project.
"Nezperce never fails to surprise us. They take care of themselves all the time. They're willing to help work with you all the time. But there's a lot of low- and moderate-income people in Nezperce and this is definitely a hardship on them, having an increased bill. But it's all worth it for future generations and for this our town looks awful nice after this project is completed."
Bateman said the project has already improved the business climate in town by providing better access to businesses. The city council is hoping more businesses will consider locating along the main street, he added.
And the new library has attracted many people wishing to view the new building and look over the historical display of the town.
City officials used oversized scissors to cut a red ribbon, and then the crowd moved back into the community center to listen to music by the Carl Grobey family of Nezperce and to eat cake and ice cream.