JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The roundabout project in front of the Jacksonville Landing is supposed to give Downtown a new look.
But many of the businesses in the shopping center are behind schedule and are unhappy with the pace of it.
"Get it done, we'll be happy. Our merchants will be happy and I think pedestrians will be happy as well," said Blakeley Ainsworth, the Landing's marketing director.
The urban mall is a mixture of restaurants and retail shops, as well as four art galleries.
Brenda Kato of the Bee Gallery is stinging mad. "They were supposed to be done in 40 days; it is passed 40 days," said Kato.
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She said the length of the project is taking a toll on her business. "We're already down in the recession; now you're hurting business further that makes me really angry," she said.
The project was actually completed last year, but when the grout used in the installation began washing away, the contractor, RAM Professional Group, agreed to redo the project at its expense.
Elonya Davis, of the Adrian Pickett Gallery, said when she heard they were redoing the roundabout, she knew that would spell trouble. "That was frustrating to get the memo they were starting that again, because the first phase of the construction really slowed business down. This time it stopped it all together," she said.
The project started July 5, closing roads on Laura and Bay streets, and Independent Drive and Newnan Street. The city said then it should be finished by the end of August. "It feels like eternity," said Davis.
The Landing has events scheduled in September and Ainsworth said she hopes the roundabout project is completed by then. "We're just hopeful that it is sooner than later," she said.
That is the wish of everyone in the shopping center.
"It is killing the small business, we really need to wrap it up and try to bring people down here, not deter them away. We love the look of the cobblestone, however if it is hurting business, what good is it?" said Davis.
City spokesperson Jennifer Savage said the project is on schedule.
"The agreed upon completion date was Sept. 5, and the project, barring no hurricane or heavy rains between now and then will be Sept. 5. As it is on time, there have been no requests for extension or requests for weather days, " said Savage in a statement.
So how do you get 40 days from July 5-Sept. 5? Savage wrote:
"I think the way the "40 days" got out there was - generally speaking, from July 5 to Sept. 5 it is standard to think eight weeks. With work five days a week, for eight weeks, (5x8) that equals 40 days. However, there are actually nine weeks from July 5 to Sept. 5."
The bottom line, the completion date from the start that was agreed upon was Sept. 5. The project is expected to be complete Sept. 5. Sorry for the confusion."
First Coast News