CAPE CORAL, Fla. -- Cape Coral business owners say they are losing business because of construction in front of their locations.
Construction for the Cape Coral Street Scape Project on Southeast 47th Terrace broke ground in January. Construction is happening in sections along the street, which is home to several businesses and serves as Cape Coral's entertainment district.
Since February 20th, construction has been underway between Southeast 8th Court and Coronado Parkway. The street is filled with machinery, rubble and barricades. It makes it challenging for people to get to restaurants like Cork Soakers Deck and Wine Bar.
Owner Ralph Centalonza placed a "construction" sign, which displays a middle finger, outside his restaurant as the construction and continues and causes parking issues. "When I park as a consumer, where do I come? We gave them a direction sign that points to our front door," Centalonza said with a smirk. "So they know exactly how to get in."
Centalonza placed the sign light-heartedly, and does not aim it at construction workers. He tells 4 In Your Corner he is excited about the outcome of the project. However, his business has suffered through construction. "The construction guys have been real good to us," he said. "But there's definitely a decrease in sales. The arduous task at finding a spot to park or even walk through the construction zone, for some may be easy. For others, may be a little more difficult."
Ciao Wood Fired Pizza and Trattoria is experiencing similar issues. Owner Jill Bacus receives calls from confused customers every day. "How do we get to you? Are you open? We can't find you. As a small business owner, that's hard to hear," she said.
The restaurant usually experiences long lines during their tourist season. However, this season, they have seen a dramatic decrease in traffic. "We've noticed a huge loss. We're probably down about 50%, which as you know, small mom and pop restaurants need to have that support. That sustains us throughout the summer," Bacus said.
Signs are placed across the construction site to help direct people to business entrances, but Bacus believes they can be improved. "We would've loved lighted signs to let customers know. At night time, it's very hard to see the signage."
4 In Your Corner reached out to the construction company, who said they are open to making changes. Any business owners with requests for more signage or other changes can contact them at Info@SE47Terrace.com. They included the following statement:
"We anticipate construction between Coronado Parkway and SE 8th Court will continue for approximately 1-2 months. We are progressing rapidly with underground utility infrastructure improvements and will soon begin streetscape improvements. We want to do everything we can to support businesses on SE 47th Terrace and spread the word that they are open during construction.
We’ve set up business open signs, business entrance signs and banners with the names of each business at each block to broadcast that businesses are open during construction. The business open signs and business entrance signs are made of reflective material to make them more visible to drivers at night.
Construction is underway in segments, focusing construction in a few blocks at a time to minimize the impact to businesses along SE 47th Terrace. We’ve maintained SE 47th Terrace open to regular traffic as much as possible. While traffic detours are in place, customers can enter the construction zone to access any business, and flaggers are currently on site to help direct traffic during working hours.
We are also supporting businesses by sending out traffic advisories regularly, and sharing posts via social media that reinforce businesses are open, and information on where to park. We also working with the South Cape CRA and the Chamber of Commerce of Cape Coral to promote businesses and share news that they are open on a broader network."