A few months ago on Clematis Street, laughter and the bustling of footsteps were the predominant sounds in the air. Now the only audible noise is the metallic clang of shovels and power tools.
Posters all around Clematis Street unveiled the “Dig Zone” and refer to the jackhammers and drills as the “sweet sound of progress,” which is the motto for the construction.
The Clematis Streetscape project is an effort to improve one of the city’s busiest streets.
But business owners on Clematis Street say this construction is turning away customers because it’s simply difficult to circumnavigate. They are worried that the shortage of parking spots caused by construction might slow down business.
Bethany Loar, an employee for two years at the Fitness Hub Studios, has seen immense difference when construction began.
“Construction started early this summer and since then, it definitely has affected our business, we have seen a lot less sales since we have a storefront boutique," Loar said. "Since then, there has been a drop of 60 percent in sales. We keep seeing it as a positive thing and hopefully when the street is done it will make up for the business we have lost."
Clematis Street is currently drawing complaints from several people from the community.
“[It is a] dusty, dirty environment,” Clematis Street regular Hannah Bufford said.
“I don't think what they’re doing is going to help the area all that much. There were so many empty storefronts prior to the construction, and many places are closing down,” Bufford said
“We started to notice a difference in the businesses around us, like C-Street Cafe, which is going out of business, and others too, which have been suffering,” Loar said.
The shutdown of this busy street is also causing a major inconvenience for many employees and tourists who participate in the night life along Clematis Street each weekend.
“As far as getting around and staying for Clematis by Night, I don’t really want to go,” said long time resident Christina Dellraria.
Businesses have no choice but to wait out the construction and hope for improvement in the end. The construction is expected to be finished at the end of October.