Construction projects impacting businesses in downtown Greensboro

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GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Downtown Greensboro is booming and it seems as if construction is popping up on every street. But some locals say construction projects are hurting businesses, frustrating customers and making it tough to drive downtown.

Road closures, one way signs and detours meet drivers at just about every turn in downtown Greensboro.

Much of it is centered around Eugene Street, Fisher Avenue, Smith Street and Battleground Avenue, where the current phase of the Downtown Greenway project is under construction.

"It's not a real center hub of activity that did not exist," said Dabney Sanders, the director of the Downtown Greenway project.

When it's complete, the Downtown Greenway will contain four miles of paved walking and biking trails making up a loop around downtown.

"I think there's two different perspectives,” said Tyler Nikola, who lives in downtown Greensboro. "My girlfriend definitely doesn't like the growth because of the driving. I get to walk everywhere I want to, so I like that there's growth going on."

The detours created by the construction can be hard to navigate.

"There are signs, but people still get confused," said Joel Landau, the president of the board of directors for Deep Roots Market.

The Downtown Greenway project is also behind schedule. Construction at the intersection of Fisher Avenue and Eugene Street was originally supposed to wrap up in March; now, it's scheduled to continue until August.

Dozens of businesses, churches and homes are impacted by the delay.

"Well, a lot of them are frustrated," Landau said.

When the project started outside Deep Roots Market's doors, Landau says revenue dropped by 10 percent.

I think the Downtown Greenway is a good thing for the city. We knew about the plans when we moved in here," he said. "Of course, it wasn't supposed to go on and on this long, with only projects tacked on top of it."

"It's really important for people to maybe bear a little inconvenience for a temporary period of time, so that they reap those long term benefits of having those vibrant businesses as a part of our community," Sanders said.

Landau says customers are already finding other places to shop.

"They say, 'I'm not coming back,'" he said.

"You check the parking lot and there's a lot less cars when you go into it," Nikola said.

The Downtown Greenway construction is now schedule to wrap up by early 2019, but Landau fears more delays could be ahead.

"To have this prolonged loss of revenue is really rough," he said.

"You look at what's coming through here and there's people walking by for that every single day, so I'm hoping we can outlast that," Nikola said. "It's fine, but it's definitely taking a hit now."

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