With the City sidewalks improvement project well underway, businesses are struggling against the construction and lack of parking—issues they likely don’t need with the holiday season coming up.
According to City Manager Joshua Ray, the completion of the sidewalk project is set for April 2022. And the timing of the construction has some business owners asking ‘why now at this time?’
Sheila Trolinger, whose daughter and granddaughter, Mary Gay and Abby Burton, own the Gingham Jellybean, said they worked for 18 hours getting their Christmas displays ready.
They designed their boutique window with Christmas finery—all set to excite children and adults about the holidays.
The next day after all that work, they found they couldn’t get into their store from the front with construction blocking the way.
For now, visitors are having to park off-site from the square at the Shelbyville free parking lot and at the Fly building on South Main Street.
But the walkability of visitors from business to business is in most cases, non-existent which will affect these local businesses, Trolinger said.
“My biggest concern is parking,” said Mary Gay Burton. She said when people see the signs that say, “sidewalks are closed,” they ask, ‘well, how do I get in?’”
“We love our customers. And we want them to know that we are still trying to operate and accommodate their needs,” Burton said. But Burton says she hopes customers remain aware of the benefits of shopping small—which supports local businesses and families as well as provide customers with the best services.
The Gingham Jellybean will have to be closed Monday while workers pour the concrete. The store will have extended hours through Thanksgiving weekend.
Burton also said they will gladly meet their customers’ needs, through car deliveries and through meeting customers beyond store hours, as the store front remains inaccessible. Burton is sympathetic to the project’s necessity.
“My hope is that it will benefit safety-wise,” she said. Burton said the old sidewalk had loose bricks and an uneven surface, making it a hazard for pedestrians.
And even though the trees were liked by many for the shade, Burton said their storefront was hidden behind them.
Now, she, and many others along the square, look forward to completion while they make do through the holiday season.
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