Downtown Mystic business owners say the combination of the recession, streetscape project and Mystic bridge repair has been hard on them, and government and bussiness officals say they need .
“It’s inconvenient but critical to support these businesses,” said Barbara Strother, economic development specialist for Groton. “This is the time to say, ‘It’s inconvenient, but I love that shop.’”
The streetscape project, a $3.6 million plan to replace sidewalks, install granite curbs and bury utilities, broke ground in October, 2010, but has disrupted businesses on and off since. – it also coincided with a recession and repair of the Mystic bridge.
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The construction has resulted in torn up sidewalks, snarled traffic and businesses sometimes denied access to their front walks. The tourist season isn't in full swing until after school gets out, but businesses depend on foot traffic in May, particularly after college graduations and during nice weekends.
"Trying to Be Patient"
“We’re all trying to be as patient as possible,” said one business owner Wednesday. “We’ve not had that many customers this morning, and three-quarters of them looked outside and saw that it was impossible.”
“There’s been a lot of goodwill that’s been lost and is going to take awhile to get back from locals and tourists,” said another. “That’s an intangible. But you see it.”
Tricia Cunningham, president of the , said downtown Mystic needs local support.
“Many locals are choosing to bypass downtown and have changed their habits in order to avoid the downtown area,” she said via e-mail. “Now more than ever, however, the business in our unique downtown needs the support of our local community.”
A Trip In May
Cunningham said she’d like to ask everyone to commit to taking a trip into downtown during May.
“Even if you only spend a few dollars, that gesture of supporting local business will surely make a difference,” she said.
Downtown stores have planned a sidewalk sale on May 5 and 6.
Judy Czuba, of Stonington, shopped in downtown Wednesday.
“We’re going with the flow, but it is hard to get in and out,” she said. “It's hard to shop. I’m sure they must be hurting, I would think.”
Construction Next Week
Construction planned for the coming week is listed below:
- Workers must install a device that separates solid material from drain water, and will begin this construction on the corner of Bank and West Main streets on Monday. Traffic may be limited to one-way alternating traffic for some periods on April 30 and May 1.
- Curbs and sidewalks along the corner of Bank and West Main streets will also be rebuilt during the week, along with drainage work on Bank Street. Bank Street will be closed from May 1 through May 4.
- AT&T will repair an underground manhole structure on the corner of West Main and High streets. Crews will start at the corner, then continue trenching to Bank Street. The work will take 5 to 7 days and is not related to the streetscape.