Some Downtown Bossier residents face hardships during construction

Some Downtown Bossier residents face hardships during construction
The work is part of a 13-million dollar "re-envisioning project" that will include new utility lines, 2 lane roads, wider sidewalks and more.
The work is part of a 13-million dollar "re-envisioning project" that will include new utility lines, 2 lane roads, wider sidewalks and more.

BOSSIER CITY, LA (KSLA) - Some Downtown Bossier business owners are experiencing growing pains while construction is underway for the Downtown Bossier Re-envisioning Project.

City leaders say the pain from the progress is unavoidable and in the meantime business owners are searching for ways to stay afloat during the construction.

Bayou Bell Traders antique mall owner Beth Carr runs day-to-day operations with her dog Tucker by her side in Downtown Bossier. "We depend on walk-in business," she said and explained typically their business comes from tourists wandering in from the casinos.

But recently that hasn't been the case and Carr is pretty sure she knows why. Despite the "OPEN" sign, Beth doesn't think many people know the store is open because of construction in front of her business.

The work is part of a 13-million dollar "re-envisioning project" that will include new utility lines, 2 lane roads, wider sidewalks and more.

"I know it is going to be wonderful when they get it finished," she said. But in the meantime, she and her numerous antique vendors are losing business.
"We have one vendor who normally makes $800-$900 dollars a month. Thus far this month, he has made 51-dollars," Carr said. "That is how dramatic the effect on the businesses and that is just one of the vendors."
    
City project coordinator Pam Glorioso says she is aware of the small business owner's concerns. "It is a hardship, we ask that they just bare with us, because in the end the project will be done, it will be an improvement and business will improve," said Glorioso. 
According to Glorioso, the city has printed signs to help the business owners and is working with contractors to get the work done quickly.

But Carr said many business owners had to take it upon themselves to print their own signs in an effort to attract customers. Despite advertising and displaying signs, Carr explained since construction started, their steady stream of customers has ended. Carr has no plans to close her store and will explore every option to keep it open.

Construction started in late April.  The whole project is expected to be completed in 14 months.

If you have any suggestions or solutions for how Bayou Belle Traders and other businesses nearby can keep their customers during construction: let us know! We want to hear your suggestions. Email your ideas to reporter Victoria Shirley at vshirley@ksla.com.

Copyright 2016 KSLA. All rights reserved.