Businesses laud Scott Street work

With dust rising from the exposed underbelly of Scott Street, only a handful of cars and people are meandering back and forth past the construction.
But local businesses don’t seem concerned the work is turning Scott Street into a ghost street, putting a damper on their sales at the same time.
Instead, many are applauding the town for considering the best time and easiest way to conduct the street repair without hampering business.
“There are definitely not as many people downtown as there would be if construction was not going on,” Tammi Shoemaker, owner of Tammi’s Flower Garden here, said yesterday.
The province announced funding for the re-construction of Scott Street back in July and work—which is being done at night—is expected to be completed by the beginning of next month.
“There hasn’t been as many people in the store as there usually is but we expected that when we heard they would be working on the road,” said Shoemaker.
“It’s something we just have to deal with.
But Shoemaker wasn’t too concerned about her business since she said much of her sales are made over the phone as people order flowers to be delivered.
Jim Jackson, owner of Sight and Sound, also is not overly concerned the construction will affect business. “It’s a bit dusty but it has been dirty before,” he chuckled.
“They moved all the bricks away and that was a good idea,” he added, referring to incidents over the weekend where people threw spare bricks left on the street at cars.
Jackson also said he had a lot of respect for the crews working all night to complete the job. “There is no good time to do it. They can’t do it over the weekend so this is great,” he remarked.
Doug Anderson, of Betty’s of Fort Frances Ltd., also said he was glad the town was revamping Scott Street.
“Twenty years ago they re-did the street and everyone was saying what’s going on, but they have got to do it,” he reasoned. “I think it’s great and that the town is doing a great job.”
Anderson also applauded the timing of the work.
“They could have done it in the height of tourist season but they held off ’til now,” he noted. “It would have caused a number of bottlenecks if they hadn’t. It was a good decision.”
“It’s really quite positive though it might be a bit of a hassle right now.”
Down the street at Celeste’s Hair Design, things remain business as usual.
“Because Celeste’s is by appointment, we haven’t seen much difference,” salon owner Cindy Allan said yesterday.
Allan said there hasn’t been much walk-in traffic but that for this time of year that was not unusual.
“September is normally a slow time for us,” she admitted, what with school back in session. “We were commenting that our windows will be dirtier but that’s not much to deal with.”
Ted DeBenetti, owner of A Buck or Two, said he hasn’t noticed much of a difference in store traffic since the roadwork began.
“It’s something that has got to be done. I think they’re doing a good job on it,” he said yesterday.
Since construction really began this week, DeBenetti said he has had a steady flow of traffic into his store. “It’s affected it a little but what are you going to do?”
He added that with the work taking place during the night, shoppers can still make it downtown.
“They’re leaving it open so people can still drive down the street and still park on the street,” DeBenetti said. “It’s better than doing it during the day. That would be a safety hazard.”
Still, not everyone is happy.
“It’s just terrible,” said Liz Wilson, who was being pushed across the street in a wheelchair by her husband, Jim, yesterday morning.
After turning her around, pulling her over the rocky terrain at the corner of Portage Avenue and Scott Street, and then arriving at their car, he breathed a sigh of relief.
“It’s definitely rough,” he remarked.