Mayor pledges city support for businesses struggling near Bluff Street construction

ST. GEORGE — Some businesses along Bluff Street are feeling the impact of having heavy construction outside their front doors, but Mayor Jon Pike is personally visiting every business along the construction site to tell owners how the city can help.

St. George Mayor Jon Pike talks with Ricardo Vaca, owner of 3 Amigos Market, about ways his business can indicate to customers that the store is still open despite the construction on Bluff Street in St. George, Utah, March 22, 2018 | Photo by Spencer Ricks, St. George News

Kneaders Bakery and Cafe on Bluff Street has experienced a 30 percent drop in sales since the construction project started, business operator Kathy Hansen said.

Sue’s Pet Castle has seen a 25 percent loss, business owner Clay Russell said.

Pike said 26 businesses along Bluff Street have also been forced to temporarily relocate due to the construction.

However, other business owners, like Ricardo Vaca from 3 Amigos Market and Mike Davis from BT Pearson tire, said they have not noticed a major drop in sales, although their customers may have been inconvenienced from crossing the construction site.

Read more: So what is this Bluff Street project all about?

Pike said he recognizes this can be tough on businesses.

“In some cases, their business can be down 30-50 percent some days,” he said. “That’s why we want to do everything we can to alleviate as many concerns as we can because we want them to be here when this project is over.”

The biggest concern for some of the business owners is the access points, Pike said. In order to access many of the businesses along Bluff Street, customers have to cross dirt sections of the construction site. On rainy days, the access points can be muddy as well.

A sign indicates Kneaders Bakery and Cafe is still open despite the construction in front of the restaurant on Bluff Street in St. George, Utah, March 22, 2018 | Photo by Spencer Ricks, St. George News

Hansen called the access “confusing.”

“We had one customer whose car turned into a mud hole once trying to get to (Kneaders).”

Hansen said she is hoping the city of St. George would help reimburse businesses along Bluff Street for lost sales — something Pike said the city will not do. What the city can do is offer alternatives businesses can do to advertise or place signage to indicate they’re still open through the construction period.

The city passed a temporary ordinance that allows businesses on Bluff Street to put up a freestanding 32-square-foot banner to indicate the business is still open, Pike said. They could also put a similar banner on their building.

Utah Department of Transportation has also placed blue signs marking all of the access points for the businesses.

“What we want them to be able to say is, ‘Hey, even though we’ve got this construction going on, we’re still open for business, folks,’” Pike said.

The city of St. George would also be willing to do some cooperative advertising to further spread awareness for these businesses, Pike said.

Cars drive by the construction zone on Bluff Street in St. George, Utah, March 22, 2018 | Photo by Spencer Ricks, St. George News

On Thursday, Pike started to personally visit with business owners of every business along Bluff Street to hand them flyers with information about the new temporary city ordinance for signage.

Once construction finishes on the west side of Bluff Street and moves to the east side, Pike said he will also meet with representatives from every business on that side of the street as well.

“I’m personally committed to go to every business, share with them this information on the signage and see if there’s anything else we can help with,” Pike said.

When the construction project is completed around November 2018, Pike said he hopes the business owners will be much happier with the final product.

“The access will be great (and) there will be some deceleration turn lanes that will help people even more than the previous street would allow,” Pike said. “If we could just all together make it through the next months, it will be better on the other end.”

Email: sricks@stgnews.com

Twitter:  @STGnews | @SpencerRicks

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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1 Comment

  • Kace45 March 23, 2018 at 10:24 am

    I live just off Bluff and while the construction is inconvenient, I believe it is in the best interest of these businesses in the long run to be on a nice, wide, high-traffic road.

    It’s not reasonable for the businesses to expect tax-funded reimbursement for lost sales. “Hansen said she was hoping the city of St. George would help reimburse businesses along Bluff Street for lost sales — something Pike said the city will not do.”

    Construction and other inconveniences are a part of doing business. You have to be able to adapt and adjust to accommodate for variables. I’m glad the city is helping to spread the word that these businesses are still open and I’m thankful for the foresight in getting this construction done. But I’m also glad the city will not reimburse for lost income. That’s a money pit that would never end…

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