Downtown business owners upset over trolley construction

News

Owners in Downtown El Paso say that the ongoing trolley construction is hurting their businesses. And according to contractors this is just the beginning.

Teddy Herrera says that since he opened his business over a year ago, the streets in the area have been closed off for majority of the time.

“Every time they close the street, our business falls down by about 40 percent,” says Herrera. “The problem is that they close them so often that it perpetually hurts my business, and as far as who’s giving the approvals.. the city or whoever, I really think that there should be some sort of help for the small businesses that are here.”

Construction for the trolley project began late last year. contractors of the project say they have been transparent with owners about street closures.

“The most important thing to do is to make sure that there are open lines of communication, so businesses, residents, other institutions can plan as much as possible,” says Martin Bartlett, spokesman for Camino Real Regional Mobility Authority. “And give the information on to their customers, to folks who maybe use their parking lots, use their parking garages.. so folks can have all the information to make the best decision possible.”

Contractors say this is just the beginning of a long two year project. Although contractors have communicated with owners about closures in the area, Herrera says it doesn’t change the fact that they are losing money.

“What the city needs to understand is that we don’t have unlimited budgets to be supporting the street closures for two years.. to be supporting the drop in business for two years. it’s not like we’re asking for much, we just want to retain our business,” says Herrera.  

Herrera believes the businesses in the area should be compensated by the city or contractors. NewsChannel 9 asked city Rep. Cortney Niland about compensation, and she says that’s just not going to happen. 

“There are several different properties that would love to be along this investment and this corridor, and so I know it’s difficult but I also do know that in the end it will pay off ten fold,” says Niland.  

The project is supposed to be completed by early 2018. Contractors told us that this is just phase one of the project and that more closures are coming, including a three week closure of San Antonio at Kansas.

Despite street closures, all businesses in the area remain open. For more information on street closures, you can visit https://www.facebook.com/elpasostreetcar.

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