New Albany business owners say downtown revitalization project hurting sales | Business

NEW ALBANY, Ind. (WDRB) – Business owners in southern Indiana say New Albany’s revitalization project is cutting into their bottom line.

Construction on the multimillion-dollar project is in its second phase on Main Street, and the orange barrel and circling signs are literally putting up barriers for businesses.

Christian Johnson, owner of The Odd Shop, said, “While this construction project is expected to enhance downtown New Albany, some business owners said they are not sure whether they will be in business to see those final enhancements. ” “I think it’s going to be a great project when it’s done, we just want to be around to see it.”

Dan Hardesty, owner of Eureka Menswear, said manufacturing has created difficulties.

“We lost our pavement, and we lost our share of the road,” he said. “Our sales are down about 40% of what they should be.”

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The revitalization plan required the closure of sections from State Street to East 5th Street as new curbs and gutters were added, sidewalks were raised and the road was rerouted.

New Albany Mayor Jeff Gahan said rebuilding is necessary.

Gahan said, “The timing isn’t the best, but some of it is funded with federal and state money, so it’s really 80/20, so I don’t always get the luxury of choosing the construction schedule.”

City officials said the total cost of the Main Street Improvement Project is about $12 million. The Indiana American Water Company recently completed a $1 million infrastructure repair on old pipes under Main Street.

Parking is a major concern for businesses. The multi-block project prevented street parking, which Johnson said limited foot traffic to his shop.

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“I’ve had to limit my hours, and we’ve had people come to see us, and we’ve been laid off,” she said. “We’ve seen our sales drop by over 50%.”

While lack of revenue is the common theme, a GoFundMe page was set up by the board and owners of AAP alike to support businesses in the area. The goal is to raise $10,000 to purchase gift cards at each affected business. This plan is for gift cards that will never be used, so businesses can keep the money.

Businesses include: Aladdin’s Mediterranean Restaurant, Eureka Menswear, The Odd Shop, Disc Crazy, Coffee Crossing, Chestnut & Pearls Art Gallery, Fostered Up Art, Mitchell’s Apothecary, Agave & Rye, Tailoring Fitting, Stonewater, James Bourne Gallery, Boomtown Kitchen, Purple Pearl, Bohemian Barber, New Albany Sugar Shoppe, Cottonwood Collective and Raven’s Roast.

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Late Wednesday, New Albany Councilman Al Nabal told WDRB News he is proposing a $500,000 grant program for businesses affected by the construction. He added an item to the agenda for this month’s council meeting.

When completed, restaurants and businesses will have space for outdoor dining without obstructing the flow of pedestrians on the sidewalks. The crosswalk for pedestrians will also be reduced from 52 feet to 22 feet.

Mayor Gahan said he expects shoppers to continue to support the businesses.

“These growing pains are very necessary, and I think if nothing else people can see that we are committed to the long-term health of the city,” he said.

City leaders said the project should be completed by the end of 2023.

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