Merchants say recurring road work tearing up their business

March 17, 2009

Some business owners say city officials should limit the number of times construction occurs in a given area during a set span of time.

Ever since Merchant's Row opened at Packard and Sivyer avenues in 2007, the area has been torn up during the summer and early fall, discouraging potential customers from stopping in, said Shari Franz, owner of The Fixx Coffee House.

The Fixx Coffee House, Mirror Mirror hair salon, and Andare Fitness are located in Merchant's Row.

"The businesses have been affected by construction for the past two years," Franz said. "Every year it's been torn up, and I'm fed up with it."

She said 40 percent of her morning customers use her drive-through service, which is impacted "greatly" by road construction.

"I lost a lot of money last fall when (Packard Avenue) was torn up for repairs," she said.

Franz views the potential construction on Packard Avenue this summer as a big price to pay for a few more parking spots.

She said city officials should limit the number of times construction takes place within a given area to help local business owners.

"We're all hurting right now because of the economy," Franz said.

Carleton Grange Pub owner Eric Ellsworth said the city should have created angled parking last year when the street was under construction, but that it should be installed.

Angled parking would increase the number of stalls close to his restaurant, and that would benefit patrons, especially senior citizens, he said. Parking is sometimes an issue on Friday nights when the restaurant is busy.

An additional parking lot on The Mandel Group's triangle property could alleviate the shortage of parking, but it could take years for development to materialize, Ellsworth said.

"With the economy the way it is, it could take 10 years for that to happen," he said.

Ellsworth said road construction has slightly reduced his business in the past, but the additional parking "would help everybody in the area."

Chantel Balzell can be reached at (262) 446-6602.

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