Balloons, a DJ, and free gifts marked the end of construction that tied up traffic and hurt business on Main Street for much of the spring and the entire summer.

Representatives of the Main/Dempster Mile marketing organization gave away a variety of items including gift certificates for local businesses Thursday evening, as owners of those businesses can now give a collective sigh of relief with the end of water main installation.

“What we’re doing tonight is celebrating the end of construction,” said Katherine Gotsick, executive director of Main/Dempster Mile.

The digging, detouring, and traffic-delaying work wrapped up this past Friday.

“It was a really rough summer” for some Main Street merchants, Gotsick said, as customers stayed away rather than try to make it through the construction.

More construction is actually on the way, although this is something the merchants will like … once it’s finished, that is.

The city plans to install streetscapes, new sidewalks, new lighting, and in general make the Main Street business corridor more pedestrian friendly.

That work was supposed to take place next year, but Gotsick said it will now happen in 2023.

So for now, it’s time to enjoy the free traffic flow. Jackson Adams, head of the marketing committee for Main/Dempster said he was so happy to see the end of construction that “I literally drove around the block because I could.”

Jeff Hirsh joined the Evanston Now reporting team in 2020 after a 40-year award-winning career as a broadcast journalist in Cincinnati, Ohio.