Local News

Reopening Of Fayetteville Street Set For July

Posted May 11, 2006

— Raleigh is getting ready to host a long-awaited block party. The city announced Fayetteville Street would reopen at the end of July.

It has been a tough year for downtown workers and businesses dealing with the construction. Workers have been busy turning the pedestrian mall back into an open road.

When the July 29 street party was mentioned to people that will celebrate the re-opening of this street, most said that it is about time.

"I'm going to be glad when they get some of this stuff out of here," said employee Dennis Johnson.

Johnson is an assistant manager at Kimbrell's Furniture Store, a longtime Fayetteville Street tenant. He said the construction forced them to step up their advertising to keep revenue steady. July cannot come soon enough for him.

"When it's sunny and they're working, a lot of dust blows on our customers," said Johnson.

Around the corner at the Raleigh Times Cafe, people have more of a "glass half-full" approach to the construction.

"It was a little tough when they had to rip up the sidewalk; but other than that, the pain is certainly worth the gain," said owner Greg Hatem.

For downtown workers, the lament all around is "Enough, already!"

"Everybody has to climb over everything," said one worker. "It's like a maze trying to get to your office."

Construction was scheduled to end this month for the $9 million project, but the work is about 60 days behind.

"It's been tough on everyone," said Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker

Meeker said moving some utility lines for street lamps and traffic signals took longer than expected. However, he said the July target date is doable for the new Fayetteville Street.

"It would take two to three years for all the stores and shops to get open," said Meeker. "Right now, a lot will open this summer, even more this fall."

Meeker believes construction is back on schedule. Of course, the goal is to attract people.

According to Meeker, about 15 to 20 businesses are already operating on Fayetteville Street, with room for another 15 to 20 more.

Details on the planned street party to celebrate the street's reopening are still being worked out.

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