CHICAGO (CBS)–Noisy construction cranes and bulldozers digging into concrete make for an unpleasant shopping experience in the Logan Square neighborhood, where the City of Chicago started a construction project on Wednesday to replace century-old sewer pipes.
The timing of the project has shop owners along Milwaukee Avenue between Central and Diversey livid. They say the detours and construction zones are an impediment to their businesses–and with the holiday shopping season approaching, the timing is less than convenient.
Construction blockades are hiding their storefronts and making it difficult for customers to access the shops.
Kay Shoes owner Monyca Flack has every right to be angry. Her shop is her livelihood, and she’s counting on sales from holiday shoppers. She and other business owners say the timing of the construction project on Milwaukee and Dawson couldn’t be worse.
“I can’t believe this,” she said. “We have basically from now through Christmas–which is just six weeks away–to make it or break it.”
Business owners begged city officials to wait, and the city agreed to reduce the construction time from three weeks to one.
But that timeline still butts up to shopping prime time, and means big losses.
“It’s about a 30-40 percent drop in business,” Flack said. “It could be thousands and thousands of dollars.”
This scenario is Déjà Vu for Flack and other owners. There was construction just up the street two years ago.
That project was supposed to last a few weeks, but it took four months.
“If there’s a snow storm over the weekend, they’re not going to finish,” Flack said.
The city did not respond to a request for comment Friday.