At the first City Council meeting of 2022 on Tuesday, Jan. 4, the City Council heard from business owners on North Eugene Street complaining about the street being closed for three months.
As a result, the City Council ordered Eugene Street, which was closed on Monday, Jan. 3, to be reopened on Wednesday, Jan. 5.
At the next to last meeting of 2022, on Tuesday, Dec. 6 the City Council heard similar complaints from the same business owners on North Eugene Street about the street being closed.
This time the City Council took no action.
The street had been closed in January for what was estimated to be three months for waterline replacement and streetscaping. The cost to the city for delaying construction and reopening the street on Jan. 5 was over $200,000 paid to the contractor for canceling the construction contract.
John Hill from Select Cycle and Triumph at 430 N. Eugene St. said that they were currently in week six of the third round of road closure in eight years. He noted that the southern end of the construction project at Bellemeade Street had never been completely closed but the northern end at the Smith Street intersection had been completely closed for three weeks and was now only partially open.
Elizabeth Contogiannis from the Acropolis Restaurant at 416 N. Eugene St. said, “The council said that we would not be closed again.”
City Councilmember Zack Matheny said, “These folks do have a point. It is the third time in nine years that this section of the street north of Bellemeade has been closed. It is really unprecedented.”
Councilmember Sharon Hightower said, “We did have this conversation and we did promise them that we wouldn’t cut them off. What did you all do? Why are we back here?”
Deputy City Manager Chris Wilson said that the waterline replacement project should be completed next week and that it would have already been completed but that there had been delays due to weather.
Wilson also said that the streetscape work would begin next spring, but that the street would not be closed.