Local businesses concerned about Broadway Ave. project: 'There's 53 businesses that are going to be impacted'

Planners need City Council approval in order to proceed with their final design and keep on schedule to begin construction in 2019.

Posted: Apr 24, 2018 11:32 PM
Updated: Apr 25, 2018 6:26 AM

ROCHESTER, Minn. - It's a project that's intended to transform North Broadway Avenue into a gateway to downtown Rochester.

The project is impacting a long stretch of the road, from Civic Center Drive to 13th Street NW, as well as many businesses.

"We're very concerned on this stretch of seven blocks," Penny Bracken, owner of the Kismet, said. "There's 53 businesses that are going to be impacted and it's interesting because as small businesses, we keep all of our dollars local here."

Bracken has been on Broadway Avenue with her consignment stores for 15 years. When it comes to the project, she's concerned about accessibility.

"They're going to tear up the street right to the sidewalk, right to my front door," Bracken said, "and basically for 18 months to two years, I'm going to be out of businesses."

Some of the plans include adding in medians and bike lanes, which would take out some parking and maybe even entrances to businesses.

Mike Fish took over the fourth generation Gingerbread House Bakery just two years ago. He said he'd like to see more communication, and individualized concern with each business that will be affected.

"Most of their ideas and envisions are in two plans," Fish said, "and a fraction of our ideas and needs and wants and desires are just in a fraction of the less preferred plan."

It all comes down to time in regards to how this project might affect businesses along its path.

"Are we too late? That's our biggest concern," Fish said. "Can we buy more time? I don't know."

According to online documents, the proposals for the Broadway Avenue Project will be presented to the city council for formal approval at their regular meeting on May 7.

Planners need City Council approval in order to proceed with their final design and keep on schedule to begin construction in 2019.

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