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'Yes, we're open': Hillsborough Street businesses see bright future amid growing pains

Posted April 11

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— Workers are busy on the western edge of Hillsborough Street in Raleigh.

The renewal project to add roundabouts and expand sidewalks will make the corridor more attractive once it's finished, but in the interim, the work is creating plenty of traffic headaches.

Some business owners are also experiencing a dip in business, and they're not happy about the pace of work.

While East Village Grill manager Todd Chriscoe says business in recent months has been good overall, he does admit that lane closures along Hillsborough Street have hurt his business during the day. Chriscoe says some of that is likely due to the fact that customers want to avoid dealing with traffic during their hourlong lunch break.

"At night, our business is better than ever, so we're blessed, Chriscoe said.

City leaders hope Hillsborough Street project leads to new investments

Other business owners along the corridor aren't so happy.

"You can't beat around the bush. It's a mess. We all know it," David Dean, the director of programs for the Hillsborough Street Community Service Corporation, said. "They want to see construction move faster, but as with any construction project, you're going to run into issues."

Dean and HSCSC, a nonprofit that helps Hillsborough Street businesses, is working with merchants to spread the word that shops and restaurants are open for business.

Expect to see "Yes, we're open" signage popping up in stores and on social media. The message is simple: Hillsborough Street is still open for business.

"The hope is that all of the goodwill people feel about Hillsborough Street will drive them to action," Dean said.

Chriscoe said he's ready for the changes to come, which will include the work of tearing up the sidewalk on his side of the street.

He said he's looking ahead to later this year, when a "new and improved" Hillsborough Street is back in business for good.

"The businesses on this end of the street, overall, are definitely going to benefit from it," he said.

The City of Raleigh says they plan to have the project completed in the fall.

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