Batavia businesses bearing Wilson St. construction
BATAVIA – For the past several weeks, clients who came to see Batavia dentist Kenneth Korpan had to make their way over rocks after the sidewalk was removed as part of the city’s $4.4 million Wilson Street streetscape project.
But Korpan, who owns Batavia Family Dental at 239 W. Wilson St. in downtown Batavia, is glad to see they are willing to endure the construction work.
“You got to live through it,” Korpan said. “I haven’t had any complaints from the patients. Hopefully, when it’s done, it will really look nice.”
Like other downtown business owners, Korpan is bearing with the work the best he can.
The streetscape project started in May, and the majority of the project is expected to be completed by the end of the year.
The project includes wider sidewalks and brick paver crosswalks at major intersections, Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant ramps at sidewalk corners, pedestrian bump outs, the installation of pocket parks at intersections, traffic signal interconnection and modernization, water main replacement and sanitary sewer rehabilitation.
Despite the inconvenience, Korpan said it hasn’t affected the number of clients he sees.
“I don’t think it has hurt business,” he said. “Patients are still getting here. I have limited parking anyway.”
Korpan said one of the hardest things is trying to keep the outside of his business clean.
“I had a company come in to clean my windows two weeks ago,” Korpan said. “But that’s what construction is like. I used to build custom homes.”
Access to Wilson Street businesses is being maintained during the project. The city is working to minimize any disruptions.
For example, the majority of utility work is being done at night. But Gene Olmstead, owner of Olmstead’s TV and Appliances at 221 W. Wilson St., said he would rather see workers able to operate as much as possible in order to complete the project as soon as possible.
“The city needs to let them work,” he said. “They have such restricted hours, they are not able to get anything done.”
To help bring customers into the store during the construction work, Olmstead has hung a sign on the side of his building that states “Construction Chaos Sale.”
The sign also directs customers to park behind his building in order to avoid some of the construction work.
He believes the project has hurt his business.
“It’s not going to help,” Olmstead said.
Batavia MainStreet Executive Director Joi Cuartero sends a weekly email to downtown businesses to update them on the project, information they can pass on to their customers.
“As long as customers know what to expect, they feel more at ease,” she said. “It can be intimidating, if you are not always around construction.”
Korpan said the information has been helpful.
“They are letting us know exactly what is going on,” he said.
Cuartero said the project remains on schedule.
“We are going to try to do as much as we can for the businesses,” Cuartero said. “We are all working together as much as we can.”