Downtown business owners hope for protections along with road construction

Posted at 4:33 PM, Jun 11, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-11 17:33:30-04

Road signs along Chaparral Street in downtown Corpus Christi are signs of progress. The latest phase of construction along that street is part of a larger project that aims to make Chaparral a walkable main street in downtown.

However, current construction blocks traffic flow to several local businesses, and those businesses are feeling the impact. 

For shops and bars lining Chaparral Street, there have been some changes since construction crews moved onto their block.

"I think the biggest impact has been parking" Riley Harriger, an employee at Axis Tattoo said. "A lot of times our customers will come in but they’ll say that they had to drive around the block a couple minutes, or they’ll have to leave someone driving in the car while they get down."

The owners of The Goldfish recently complained on Facebook about a street closure and water temporarily being shut off due to construction.

Additionally, the owners of Rockit’s Whiskey Bar and Saloon tell KRIS 6 News since cars cannot drive past their business, they have lost up to 80 percent of their customers on week nights.

They are all the incoveniences of urban development, and urban development will not be stopping any time soon.

"Of course the Harbor Bridge, that’s a huge project, and that’s going to open up a whole bunch of development for downtown," Christian Bernard, owner of Urbana and a member of the Downtown Management District Board, said. 

With more downtown development to come, many local businesses want to ensure there are protections for them.

"Downtown construction, as any construction, creates some feelings of nervousness for business owners. Rightfully so, it cuts off access to their businesses," Alyssa Barrera, Executive Director of the Downtown Management District, said. 

However, Barrera adds there are protections for local businesses written in the contract with the construction company on the Chaparral project. Those include limiting street closures, keeping businesses accessible to pedestrians, and completing work within certain time frames. 

She says those parameters are things that will be included in future projects as well. 

"We are continuing that path, trying to make sure that we have intersections opened, pedestrian access to businesses, and making sure that people know the businesses are open and ready for people to go support," Barrera said. 

Many business owners say with those protections in place, they look forward to the overall picture of progress.

"It’s kind of a pain having to deal with it now, but once it’s finished it’s going to be really nice," Harriger said. 

This latest Chaparral Street construction project was divided into three phases, and is now in the final phase. It is expected to wrap up this October, and Barrera says and construction crews are ahead of schedule so work may be finished even earlier. 

Phase one, from Schatzell to Peoples Street, began in October of 2017. Phase two ran from Peoples to Starr Street, and the final phase consists of improvements from Starr to Taylor Street. 

Crews are also working on a mill and overlay project, which will smooth out several streets throughout downtown. That project started last week and will be finished this week.