ROANOKE, Va. –
It’s make or break time for some businesses in downtown Roanoke.
It’s only been a few months since the city removed parking spaces from the Market Square and put in area seating for the general public.
The project cost the city a little more than a million dollars, but some business owners said that project is costing them money and their business.
Some said the renovations have been nothing but great for business, but there are others who said they are at the point where they will have to close their doors for good if things don’t change.
Those who use the Market Square said it’s the perfect setting for a relaxing afternoon in downtown Roanoke.
“The times I’ve walked through there there’s folks eating their meals, reading their books or on their computers and enjoying the area so I’m not aware of any problems,” said business owner Eric Dresser.
Dresser owns Calhoun and Kipp and said his sales have increased during the months of April and May. He believes the new square has something to do with it.
“Really the best we’ve seen in the past three years, so we’re pleased with that,” he said.
Some believe the square has helped increase foot traffic in the downtown district.
But other business owners along Market Street have their own thoughts and feelings on the newly renovated Market Square.
“You’re always going to see some mixed emotions on a project like this, but overall the feeling is really happy,” said Downtown Roanoke Incorporated marketing director Matt Klepeisz.
The Roanoke Co-Op is one business that has an up, close and personal view of the area. Manager Jonathan Shup said it’s been great for the city.
“It looks and adds a sort big city feel to the market square area,” he said.
WDBJ 7 spoke to one owner who doesn’t see it that way. The person did not want to go on camera for fear of hurting their sales even more, but did share pictures with us.
They were taken over the past few weeks and you can see some of the trash cans overflowing and people skateboarding in the new area.
The owner, along with many others, said the area has also attracted some of the homeless population. They said it wouldn’t be a problem if they weren’t sleeping on the tables and chairs.
Klepeisz said he hasn’t heard too many concerns or complaints over the square, but said there is always room for change and improvement.
“We’re thrilled it’s completed,” he said. “Now we get to perfect it.”
One owner suggested moving the tables and chairs away at a certain hour to avoid people sleeping on the chairs and at the table.
Many owners told WDBJ 7 the Roanoke City Police Department is doing a great job of patrolling the new area to help keep it safe.
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