Street closure costing merchants customers

By Nicole Bell - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

PETERSBURG, VA (WWBT) - The detour signs and barricades went up in July, shortly after a section of the building at 127 West Bank Street collapsed. Five weeks later the street is still shut down.

"I thought it be open by now. I think everybody thought it would be open by now," said business owner Gloria Leake.

She and other merchants say the street closure is an inconvenience and that it's negatively impacting business.

"A lot of people find it more convenient to go elsewhere then to try to fight their way coming in here," said Leake.

The contractor hired by the owner of the building recently announced that the structure should be stabilized no later than September 11, which is when the street is expected to re-open. City leaders say they're monitoring the situation daily.

"The city certainly sympathizes with the merchants on Bank Street. Everybody wants to make this situation work, for saving the building and getting the street re-opened," said Petersburg City Spokesperson Joanne William.

City leaders remind folks that the street closure is a necessary safety measure.

"It could cause real problems because the building is not stabilized. A lot of vibrations could cause the building to collapse even further" Petersburg Fire Chief T.C. Hairston said.

In the meantime, merchants say they'll continue to wait and hope for a resolution sooner than later.

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