Businesses suffer during Sprague Avenue construction

KREM 2's Kierra Elfalan talks to a business owner about the impact the Sprague Avenue construction has had on business

SPOKANE, Wash --- Business owners on Sprague Avenue are dreaming of the day when the sound of construction will become a thing of the past.
 
For the last four months, Sprague has been nothing but a construction zone. Many said it will bring some needed renovation to the area, but local business owners have been suffering.
 
"We just took a nosedive since the construction started," said Ian Maye, owner of the Checkerboard Bar.
 
Maye has been the owner of the Checkerboard Bar for six years. Business has had its ups and downs, but now it's hard to draw in any customers at all.
 
"A lot of people don't feel comfortable parking their cars back in the neighborhood, walking, and a lot of people are just intimidated by all the machines that are going back and forth," he said.
 
Since construction began in April, Maye said he's had to cut staff, hours and even the menu.
 
Only the truly devoted are willing to make the trip. 
 
"Pretty ladies in high heels (are) crawling over piles of rubble to get to the bar," said Maye laughing. "It's kind of comical and I'm so grateful for those people who will do that to come and see us."
 
Maye said he is all for the renovation, but thinks the city could improve in another area.
 
"There really wasn't much in the line of communication (other than) some letters of their intent," he said. "We will be doing this and this and this, and giving us the dates (for when) it was going to be done."
 
A spokesperson for the city said it has done all it can to keep business owners updated with weekly meetings owners can attend, door-to-door updates and notices through the Business Owner's Association.
 
However, Maye said he needs to make more money soon, or construction won't be the only thing coming to a close.
 
"There might not be any help for us, but maybe we can change things in the future and come up with a better plan so that this isn't something that just keeps getting repeated over and over again," he said.
 
A spokesperson for the city of Spokane said construction should be completed by Friday Sept. 15.
 
Meanwhile, city officials want to encourage everyone to continue to visit the businesses on Sprague Avenue and make it out for the grand opening of the newly paved road on Saturday Sept. 30.
 
The ribbon cutting will kick off the city's annual "Art on the Ave" event.

© 2017 KREM-TV


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