Construction work on the Church Street Marketplace is moving along towards a fall completion date. Despite the need for the project, businesses and visitors admit the construction has its ups and downs.
"Never seen a construction site so neat," said Lorre Tucker, who owns Expressions clothing on Church Street. Her store has front row seats for the ongoing Church Street Marketplace construction project, and she likes it.
"Oh my gosh, I'm going to have to plan my inventory down, I'm gonna have to have everything on sale. We're gonna have to have all kinds of promotions and the truth of the matter is, my business is up," she said.
Since the project began, she and other store owners have gotten feedback from one another. Store owners and visitors are going with the flow, including Drew Ransom, a Burlington resident that spends his free time on Church Street. "I wouldn't say anything has overly effected me -- I mean I'm still sitting here," He said. Ransom still goes to Speeder and Earl's Coffee and enjoys a drink amongst the construction site. "It's kind of invasive and a pain, but it seems like a necessary improvement."
Every five to seven days the construction project moves down Church Street, and although some store owners are supportive of the project, restaurant owners are fearful that their outdoor business will be effected.
"I'm sure if we could put a person on the moon we could figure out how to not rip up Church Street in July and August," said David Melincoff with Sweetwaters restaurant. He says although the project is crucial to have, there were many alternatives to handling the timing. "It's kind of like 90 percent of your business is a restaurant, 95 percent of your business in the summertime is outdoor seating, so they're really just taking a jackhammer and they're jackhammering up the middle of our dining room," he said.
But Ron Redmond, Director of Church Street Marketplace says the project needs to be done continuously in order to save money and have it done smoothly. The project started in April, the earliest they could start, and according to Redmond, should be ending in early fall. "There's never a good time in Vermont unfortunately -- there's always something," he said. "This is a place where people want to come and to keep Church Street vibrant and alive you gotta keep making improvements and keep making changes and keep it a place that people want to keep coming to."
So as the project pushes on, so do the businesses lining Church Street.
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