Downtown businesses aren't happy with city's work - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Downtown businesses aren't happy with city's work

Experts say downtown Memphis could use some $100 million in improvements to its infrastructure.

The Center City Commission is shelling out $5 million to get the ball rolling. New sidewalks along Union Avenue are part of the plan.

"But we're also adding street trees and new lighting," says CCC President Jeff Sanford.

Some downtown merchants just wish they'd hurry up.

"I haven't seen anybody out here in 10 days," says Phillip Stroud of Huey's downtown.

They blame messed up sidewalks for messing up normally brisk business. It's certainly not easy for pedestrians to get around.

"It's just as easy to keep walking on Main than come down Union where both sides are messed up," says Stroud.

A Thai restaurant next door to Huey's may be the most affected. We're told the kitchen staff "cooked up" the make-shift bridge out front in order to better serve customers.

"You know, the customer, at least they can walk through this," says the manager.

But he says many have just passed him by.

"It's very bad--but we have to accept it--I don't know what we can do," he adds.

"And there's just nothing I or anybody else can say that's going to make them feel any better," says Sanford.

Sanford says projects like this often encounter unforseen obstacles.

"That's just par for the course," he says.

He's confident the finished project will pay-off. Not only will it beautify the city he says, but bolster business as well.

Sanford admits there have been delays. But he says the overall project--which includes other streets--is on schedule. The completion is set for sometime next Spring.

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