Delays are often expected when the Mystic drawbridge goes up, but Monday morning, it was construction material being hoisted by a crane to the top of The New Central Hall four story building which stopped traffic for a bit.
“You just come to expect sometimes that things will be a little bit different on your way to work,” said Melissa Pelham who works at the gallery, Curated.
The continued construction was a welcome sight though for many Mystic merchants.
“I think it’s going to create some vibrancy to downtown Mystic. Some energy,” said Pelham. “There’s going to be retail on the bottom, condos on top so that mix is in keeping with the rest of the downtown area.”
Construction comes after a devastating fire destroyed the two story building in March of 2000.
“It was very scary,” said Margaret Macris who owns The Blue Horse. “It was in the middle of the night and the people who lived there were just terrified.”
Macris has owned the children’s clothing store across the street for 26 years and has been waiting for something to be built there.
“Long time coming,” said Macris. “18 years.”
For those 18 years, there has been a wall or fence along the West Main Street sidewalk where the original building once stood. Soon though, the fence surrounding the construction site could be coming down.
“I think it’s going to be great for business,” said Macris. “We’ll have seven more shops I think.”
“It’s a catastrophe,” said Reinhard Krapp of Germany. “It brings tears into my eyes.”
There are some critics of course.
“See the line here, all the nice old houses, and suddenly this bullish building,” said Krapp.
But many locals see progress.
“It was all very rickety now it is a very strong building and I think it will withstand the water when it rises,” said Liesbeth Slosberg.