North Eugene Street was closed on Monday, Jan. 3, but it is supposed to be open again on Wednesday, Jan. 5 at the request of the Greensboro City Council.
On Thursday, Dec. 30, a press release was issued by the city stating that the 300 and 400 blocks of North Eugene Street would be closed to vehicular traffic for about three months in order for a waterline to be installed and for streetscaping.
At the Tuesday, Jan. 4 City Council meeting, a number of business owners in the 300 block of North Eugene presented a list of questions, concerns and complaints to the City Council about closing the street and being left out of the process.
The business owners Mary Ann Elizabeth and Jimmy Contogiannis from the Acropolis restaurant at 416 N. Eugene St, John Hill from Select Cycle and Triumph at 430 N. Eugene St. and Olivia Burkart of Salon 440 at 440 N. Eugene St. had sent an email to the members of the City Council that outlined some of their concerns.
According to the email, they met with city staff on Dec. 20 about the street closure and were told they could choose whether they wanted to have the street totally closed for three months or have one lane open for six months. They said that at that meeting they asked a number of questions that were never answered and the next thing they heard from the city was on Dec. 30, when it was announced that the street would be totally closed for three months.
The questions were mainly about how much access they would have to their businesses during the construction? Such as, how would they get deliveries? Where were their customers supposed to park? And how would garbage be collected?
They also questioned why both blocks were being closed at the same time rather than closing the street one block at a time.
They also asked why this was happening to them again. North Eugene Street was closed from April to June in 2017, also for waterline replacement. It does make you wonder how often the waterlines on North Eugene Street need to be replaced.
At the Jan. 4 meeting Hill said, “The contractor is running the show. They just gave him total control.”
Councilmember Tammi Thurm noted the last street closure and said, “We committed to these businesses that we would not let it happen to them again.”
Mayor Nancy Vaughan said, “When we approved this contract, we gave the businesses assurances that it would be done with as little disruption as possible.”
Assistant City Manager Kim Sowell said that the staff would convene a meeting with the businesses this week.
Thurm asked that Sowell talk to the business owners tomorrow and reopen the street until the issues could be resolved.
After the meeting Sowell said that her plan was to have the street back open on Wednesday.