Businesses thankful for road re-opening

Business owners in the area of Sixth Avenue and 31st Street have an extra reason to be thankful – the Mill Run culvert replacement project has been completed.

The $1.8 million project, which began in early April, caused traffic on Sixth and Seventh avenues in the area of 31st and 32nd streets to be reduced to a single lane in each direction.

The work also prevented drivers from accessing the eastern side of 31st Street leading to Union Avenue.

Local business owners, who said the project hurt their business, are glad it’s done.

“I am elated. I didn’t realize how big of an inconvenience it was for the customers,” said Terry Funcheon, owner of Best Way Pizza, 3025 Sixth Ave.

Funcheon said he has seen a 7 to 8 percent decrease in sales from last year. “That is a little bit of a moral victory. The biggest thing was the lack of access from Seventh Avenue,” Funcheon said.

“I have been down every month since the project started, and we were up each month this year before it started compared with last year.”

Budget Beverage and Adler’s Landscape Nursery Inc. also were impacted by the project.

“Our business is off 15 percent versus last year. I can’t say with 100 percent degree of certainty it is related to the construction. The beer business is down but not that much,” said Mike Mignogna, owner of Budget Beverage, Sixth Avenue and 32nd Street.

“The guys from Fiore [Leonard S. Fiore Inc., prime contractor] were great and very respectful of our business. The road looks great and gives us a chance to clean up our property.”

Business also has been down at Adler’s Landscape Nursery.

“I would say we are down about 10 percent in our retail sales. Some people think of us as a destination, but we get a lot of drive-by business, and we lost that because people didn’t drive by,” owner Jeff Adler said.