Street-scape project causing some trouble for downtown Cary businesses
Posted April 22
Cary, N.C. — An $8 million street-scape project aimed at redeveloping downtown Cary is causing trouble for local business, but leaders say the project is a necessary growing pain.
Ralph Ashworth, owner of Ashworth Drugs on Academy Street, said the construction has been part of his landscape for nearly a year.
"It's been terrible in that people have the perception they can't drive downtown," he said.
The street-scape project will add public art, pavers, lighting and landscaping to the area. Later this year, the area will be turned into a 1.5-acre public park with a two-story library.
Downtown Development Manager Ted Boyd said the construction is driving private development, citing a new boutique hotel and a nearby brewery.
A 25,000-square-foot office building is also taking shape, but Boyd acknowledges that the construction has been a challenge.
"It is good growth," he said. "It is like going to the gym and you haven't been in a while. It hurts, but you know it's good for you."
Shopper Krista Giddings said the project is causing headaches to those who want to visit the area.
"It is now difficult to come down, and you really have to think about where you are going to park and get on a side street. So, I don't come down quite as often," she said.
Most businesses say the constant construction is costing them. One store recently relocated to Raleigh. The owner said the move was partially due to the Main Street mess.
But other stores are looking down the road and can see a light at the end of the tunnel.
"We are going to get through it," Ashworth said. "We will do it with a smile, and we are going to love it when it is over."
The project was originally slated to be completed in June, but due to weather and underground utility problems, it is now expected to be completed this fall.