As Dorchester's reputation grows as top-notch venue for food, drink and music, its main street is seeing a lot more activity, including a face lift.
This comes at a time when the village's main street traffic is at its highest volume in the past decade.
Last month, the historic building that houses Dorchester's Village Hall and Donna's Hair Creations saw significant repair, resurfacing and repainting -- improving the building's aesthetic appeal. We commend the village board for making this much needed enhancement.
Shortly after that project, the owners of City Slickers Bar and Grill started work to resurface the face of the establishment, as well as the buildings they own to the north. Times' staff has been told from reliable sources that the improvements are set to be completed by the June 3 concert with big-time country music star Jerrod Niemann. (Some are calling Dorchester the "Little Nashville" of Nebraska.)
One reader on our Facebook site said: "It's awesome to see Jason and Kathy doing so much to improve our community," referring to City Slickers' exterior and interior renovations. "It will be exciting to show off our town at the street dance they are sponsoring in June," she added.
Some have expressed regret that metal will cover the 1880s brick facade -- and we agree that the original brick is best. But brick repair can cost many tens-of-thousands of dollars, which is difficult to justify for empty buildings. Our staff continues to support a housing and business plan at the village level to find ways to fill and improve main street buildings.
We strongly support the efforts being made by the owners of City Slickers, who have added new life to the village along with the presence of Big T's BBQ Pit Stop last summer.
According to a study by the Times, weekend traffic on Dorchester's three-block business district has surged 440% on Friday and Saturday nights compared to just 10 years ago, when the Times started publishing. The tallies were taken between the hours of 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. on Friday or Saturday evenings, when Dorchester's main street (Washington Ave.) tends to be its busiest.
The traffic count has increased by 1100% on Sunday evenings -- and even more on Sundays when Dorchester's Legion Hall hosts polka concerts, which on average attracts around 40 vehicles.
The increase in traffic can obviously be attributed to the success of the continued success of City Slickers and new success of Big T's BBQ Pit Stop.
The extra vehicles mean big dollars for Dorchester, even when using conservative estimates. We estimate that each vehicle on Dorchester's Main Street on a Friday or Saturday evening equals at least $30 spent in town on food, drinks, keno, donations, gasoline or something else.