The city of Bangor says construction in West Market Square is slightly ahead of schedule.
But that’s still not soon enough for some businesses in the area.
Joy Hollowell reports.
“People are just coming in and they’re seeing that and they’re turning around and not wanting to stay.”
Paul Beaulieu helps manage The Charles Inn hotel and Big Easy Lounge in West Market Square. He says their business has taken a nearly 40% hit.
“And that’s been real hard for the hotel part- they don’t even want to see the room,” says Beaulieu, raising his voice over the noise of excavators in the background. “They see this and hear the noise and they just, they don’t want to be here.”
Pre-Civil War era plumbing, sewer and water lines and electrical wiring are all being replaced. It’s a project the city says had to be done this year.
“we’re in constant communication with the businesses, especially in the West Market area,” says Jason Bird, Bangor Economic and Community Development Officer. “From our perspective, it’s unfortunate that they’re impacted. We would obviously in an ideal world have no negative impact whatsoever.”
“I think you have to be pretty naïve to think this construction could take place and it wouldn’t affect us that much,” says Matt Haskell. His restaurant Blaze, just opened in West Market Square this year. Haskell says he’s seen a significant negative impact since construction started, especially with the loss of outdoor seating as well as parking issues.
“it changes the consistency of business so you have to deal with staffing levels and bringing your staffing levels down,” says Haskell. “The collateral damage from the whole thing is more than just the sales.”
John Dobbs, the owner of Paddy Murphy’s, posted this Facebook message July 3rd: Ladies and Gentlemen, we’re hurting. All of West Market Square is hurting. The construction going on outside our collective front doors, though necessary, beneficial in the end, and progressing ahead of schedule, is really taking a toll on all of us. We are all putting on a brave face, and tightening our belts, but we need your help. You have all been so great over these many years, and now we need you to come to West Market, and come often. We’re all part of this great city, so together, let’s all get through this.
Thank you, John
Last weekend, the Big Easy Lounge hosted a Construction Project Party, trying to put a positive spin on the situation.
“We can use everybody’s support down here,” says Beaulieu. “I’m not just talking about my business. I’m talking about everybody in this square needs everybody’s support in the community.”
The construction project is expected to be complete by early fall.
You can follow the progress at http://www.bangormaine.gov/index.php?id=2&sub_id=2880