Main Street Business Owners Keeping Eye On Construction
For the second year in a row, Jamestown storefronts along the Main Street corridor might see a disruption to summer business due to planned construction.
The City of Jamestown Department of Public Works issued a release regarding a scheduled cold milling and overlay of Main Street’s northbound lane between Second and Third streets from Friday through Wednesday. While understood to be a necessity for downtown motorists, the businesses occupying the stretch of road under repair are generally taking the biggest hit.
Last August, the southbound lane of the same block underwent construction of its own, hitting the bottom line of business owners like Reuben Hernandez, owner of Havana Cafe, and Sam Lisciandro, owner of The Pub, both of whom last year said they saw a notable decrease and, in some cases, a complete standstill in foot traffic during generally peak hours.
Hernandez told The Post-Journal his revenue had decreased by nearly 50 percent when compared to the previous year while Main Street was under repair.
Part of the problem was due to the replacement of a water main that broke in October 2015. The 10-inch main broke between Second and Third streets, which damaged the road’s subbase and caused water to bubble through cracks at the surface.
Ann Powers, who co-owns Lander’s Men’s Store with her husband, Clifford, said any area construction is an inconvenience but not necessarily in a business sense.
“It’s something that has to be done, but if people want clothes they’re going to come and get them,” Powers said. “We just hope that they’ll get it done quickly.”
Powers said a majority of Lander’s clientele drive to the 215 Main St. store, and therefore business is not usually impacted as long as customers can find a parking spot. This means, however, that large downtown events such as the Lucille Ball Comedy Festival and the downtown Jamestown Cruise-In — which are designed to boost the downtown economy — actually hurt sales because those same customers know to avoid downtown on account of the limited parking available to them.
Meanwhile, Jim Walton, owner of I’ve Been Framed on North Main Street, said he doesn’t expect to see as much decline as some of the nearby restaurants have in the past. Walton said he doesn’t see many walk-ins to his frame shop, but noted the lack of parking might cause some customers to surrounding businesses to look elsewhere.
“I’m hoping it won’t make too much a difference to me,” Walton said. “But I know it will cause a little bit of problems for the restaurants. With me, I can go to my customers.”
As was the case last year, Walton said he was hoping the city would replace the wiring to the overhead street lights. The business owner said the installation of underground wiring would cut down on future maintenance costs and remove unsightly wiring running between the lamps on North Main Street.
“If you’re getting to the point of digging up the street, why not go the extra mile and put in a plastic conduit?” Walton asked. “Then you wouldn’t see all those wires just hanging across each light.”