Peoria businesses see drop in revenue from construction road closures
PEORIA (Heart of Illinois ABC) - Traffic on Western Avenue may not be as clustered by the end of the year in Peoria. The road will be opening up as phase one ends, but business owners have already been affected by a loss of customers.
“We can say we lost 20% of our customers,” said Matthew Slaughter, Owner of MSL Barber Lounge.
Slaughter said he’s losing customers at his barber shop due to road closures right in front of the business on Western Avenue.
“They really don’t have a place to park so they’re walking from block to block to get inside,” said Slaughter.
Peoria’s City Engineer, Andrea Klopfenstein, said the road is expected to be back open by the end of the year, as they complete phase one of the project.
Although, as this phase wraps up, Slaughter’s still concerned about how his customers will get to him.
“Now there’s no parking on either side of western,” said Slaughter.
Slaughter’s business is not the only one being affected by the construction.
“I would say probably over 50% we’re losing,” said Sean Randall, Manager of L.A. Connection.
His brother, Sean Randall, manages L.A. Connection, a bar down the street.
“I just want to see this done,” said Randall.
Randall said construction has not started in front of the bar, but it’s still blocked off. He’s told it’s due to procedural reasons.
“It’s a hassle,” said Randall.
The city said the $12 million project was behind on construction because of the pandemic, but improvements like new sidewalks, bike lanes, lights and plants were still coming along.
“I think everybody is happy to see a change in the south end of Peoria,” Slaughter continued, “Now the main thing is being able to keep it up.”
Klopfenstein said the closures will only be lifted for a few months, as phase two is supposed to start early next year.
While he may be down revenue, Slaughter said seeing the city improve, makes it worth it. He and the city hope it will bring new businesses to the south side.
“This is what we call home,” said Slaughter.
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