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Construction Underway to Revitalize Downtown Milan

By Ben Rainwater
By brainwater@wbbjtv.com

MILAN, Tenn. - Renovations are underway to give downtown Milan a much needed facelift.

"(We want to) bring the heartbeat back to our downtown area," said Robin Darnell, a Milan city hall representative. "Our downtown wasn't thriving very much. Business didn't want to come downtown. It was kind of dead and ugly."

Nearly $400,000 in grant money from the Tennessee Department of Transportation is being used to update the area, but some say the construction has it looking more damaged than ever before.

"It's chaotic now, but it's going to be worth it," said downtown store owner Jeff Hewitt. "We're going to have new streets. We're going to have new grassy areas out front. They're going to put in light poles, the antique-looking light poles. So it's going to change the entire look of downtown."

Some other business owners said they are frustrated with the construction because of the lack of parking, the constant noise, and the disruption, saying it makes their business much more difficult to operate.

"We know it may be an inconvenience for them temporarily, but in the long run it's going to look a lot better," said Darnell.

City officials said the updates are not just for the current businesses. They hope revitalizing downtown will help attract more business to Milan in the future.

"Any potential business that might be coming to look at our area, we've been told they want to see our downtown because they know it's the heartbeat," said Darnell.

Milan city officials aid the construction is being down in small sections rather than the whole downtown area at one time.
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