Paving the way through Echo

Main Street upgrade gets finishing touches

Photo by Jim Muchlinski Main Street in Echo, pictured from the front sidewalk of the Echo Community Center, was given a paved surface several weeks ago. The paving was a final step in a two-year reconstruction process.

ECHO — Like all good things that take time, Echo’s new and improved Main Street is well worth the wait.

Yellow Medicine County Road 20, which includes several blocks of commercial property in Echo, has brand new pavement following completion of a two-year reconstruction process. Striping and boulevard seeding was completed in the past two weeks.

Those who use the street regularly can now look forward to at least somewhat easier winter driving. The downtown area will be almost free of dust, bumps and mud that were expected parts of life during the winter of 2018-19.

“It was completed right on time,” said Kyle Lecy, loan officer at the Citizens Alliance Bank of Echo. “People are happy with it. The county kept us informed, and as expected it was a very short paving process.”

The bank is located near the intersection with Minnesota Highway 67 on the west side of Echo. The street then proceeds past a group of agribusiness properties and then to business district buildings that have a combination of public purposes and service-related businesses.

Lecy said those activities continued almost as usual since parking was available within a standard city block. The K-12 Echo Charter School, located on the east side of the community a block from the construction area, did not have a starting date until after street work was completed.

Echo City Clerk Sue Paradis said she’s heard favorable comments about the new street surface, and also the fully handicapped accessible curbsides.

One of the access points offers a direct curbless walk to the front door of the Echo Community Center, which includes the city offices. Similar sidewalk enhancements are in place for customers at nearby businesses.

She said everyone expected a certain amount of temporary inconvenience with an unpaved downtown area. It turned out to be manageable, however, even with one of the most severe winters in Minnesota history.

“It was sometimes a challenge, more for the business area than for the larger industrial vehicles,” Paradis said. “The county was very responsive for keeping things in the best possible condition. It helped to have dust control and to have the gravel graded on a regular basis.”

She said the Main Street area now has a newer, more modern looking appearance, one that might help with the goal of bringing added business activity and new construction to Echo.

The city (population 278) has a base that includes the bank, farm cooperative sites, a salon and spa, and a bar with a food menu.

“I think it might help to get new things started,” she said. “It definitely won’t hurt the chances. The business area looks like a place that’s ready for development.”