Verona businesses express concern ahead of major reconstruction project
The city of Verona is about to get a major facelift and while city officials are anxiously waiting for construction to begin, local businesses are not sharing the same excitement.
“There’s a lot of concerns,” said Shelly Kubly, owner of Tuvalu.
Since she bought the Tuvalu coffee shop in Verona five years ago, Kubly has dealt with a few construction projects outside her front door.
“Last year, we were closed most of the summer for the Church Street (project) on the other side,” Kubly said.
Starting in spring, construction crews will be back, this time, closing the street that leads up to her business.
South Main Street will be closed beginning in mid-June and remain closed until mid-August. The construction will not only cause a headache for residents trying to navigate through the city, but business owners trying to bring in customers.
“Parking is a premium around here. We’re lucky a lot of people run to Miller & Sons to get their groceries. Then they come over and get a cup of coffee and leave,” Kubly said.
Kubly said since the shop is established in the city, her customers will find a way inside no matter what. Her newer neighbors, though, are not as sure. Hop Haus Brewing Co. opened in 2015, and relies on its large sign and location to draw people in.
“Being a new business, having that as a recognition point is really important for us,” said Tim Goers, head of sales for Hop Haus.
Goers is hopeful the road closure won’t affect them too much with the Military Ridge bike path just a few feet away. He also said parking will be available behind their building, and on the side streets.
City officials say they understand the business concerns, but believe in the end the project will be worth some stress now.
“It’s going to be a huge benefit for all the businesses and the versatility and the esthetics for downtown,” said Theran Jacobson, public works director for Verona.
Jacobson said key changes will include updated walkways and bike paths, new street lights and resurfacing Main Street between Paoli Street and Verona Avenue. He understands it’s not convenient for anyone, but asks the community for patience.
“It’s not going to be easy, I can tell you that. It’s not going to be fun, but it’s something that has to happen,” Jacobson said.
You can find more details about the project, as well as detour details on the city of Verona’s website.
Hop Haus will be working on new events for the summer to draw crowds. They plan to hold a celebration on June 17 for their second anniversary. Tuvalu will also have changes coming with the construction. Kubly said they will not be holding Friday night live music through the summer months.
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