Downtown businesses expect slow down during construction - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Downtown businesses expect slow down during construction

by Colby Robertson

WAUSAU (WAOW) -- After a two-year delay, construction is finally underway on 3rd Street in downtown Wausau.

Originally plans called for this project to take place two years ago, right at the beginning of the recession. Business owners asked city leaders to delay it saying they needed a break from all the construction to make it through the tough economic times.

Well, that construction starts this week. Business owners weigh in on the short term inconvenience and the long term benefits.

The Mint Cafe, Yao's Grand Dragon and Ginny's Antiques are just a few of the restaurants and stores along 3rd Street now expecting business to slow down as construction picks up outside their doors.

Jim Romanski of Ginny's Antiques says, "We're looking forward to a completion date of course and there's going to be a lot of disruption, every business is going to have to have a contingency plan for people to have access to their business so we're going to have to learn to live with it."

Romanski says they have a plan in place to keep business up through the construction, but they won't know the true impact until later down the road. Jim Romanski says, "We'll have a notice on the door. When we're not here they can call us, we'll be glad to come down and there will be periods where it will be closed if it's disruptive out there, we'll have to learn to live with it as it goes."

Michael Yao's plan is to close for the next three days. The owner says he planned ahead for the construction and will use the slow time to renovate his restaurant.

Yao says, "There's a negative impact, but the positive impact is going to be greater than the negative so it's a beautification program and I'm all for it."

3rd Street north to Grant Street will close to traffic while crews replace the road, sidewalks and install new planters and street lights. While business will likely slow down until early summer, these owners hope long term the changes will be great for downtown.

Yao says, "The positive thing is it's going to make downtown nicer and it's going to make people want to go downtown and it's going to create more foot traffic."

Crews plan to do the project in phases starting one block at a time and finishing up in early June. During construction, they'll put in temporary sidewalks so you can get to the businesses.

Online Reporter: Colby Robertson

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