By now, Foley area residents are becoming familiar with the Plumbing and road construction that has been fully occupying the downtown stretch of 4th Avenue North. While certainly challenging for business owners and their patrons, most have found effective ways to carry on.
Of all the challenges that this project presents, none are more pronounced than the diminished ease of travel. With roadways completely closed and parking options limited, a host of downtown businesses are having to rethink how they can allow their patrons access. One simple gesture by the construction crew that has helped this burden was by placing heavy rubber mats where the sidewalks used to lay. These mats help greatly with footing and communicate that traveling through the downtown area by foot is accepted and anticipated.
The businesses most affected, including Neighborhood Plumbing, are also getting creative with ways to allow access to their stores. Most have allowed patrons to enter through their back alley entrances, signs illustrated with directions how to navigate and where to park have been spotted, and some have even allowed for their stores to be a kind of shortcut to allow for easier travel. Many businesses have also noted that telephone communication has been the greatest ally in helping their customers who may be confused about where to park and how to access their buildings. These owners have also urged any who have questions about how to access their business or where they may park to call ahead of time.
Another challenge presented is the issue of dealing with the abundance of dirt, dust, and mud. With the roadways removed and crews working during normal business hours there has been a increased level of filth being tracked into businesses. Of the business owners we spoke with, most said they’re combating the grime by cleaning rugs and entryways on a more regular basis. Certainly, not a large problem, but still another hurdle for the community to overcome during this time.
When questioned on the topic of timeline, members of the construction crew were understandably hesitant to give a definitive answer as to when the project might be finished. Outdoor construction projects are at the mercy of Mother Nature’s unpredictability; however, the crew assured that they are currently ahead of Project Schedule and from observing their work ethic, this editor feels confident that they’re doing everything in their power to hit deadlines. One thing is for certain, while business owners and pedestrians alike have found travel and patronizing stores to be a challenge, the community should be commended for working together. It’s clearly evident that all are taking the inconveniences of construction in stride.
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