Round Rock businesses struggling to survive during road construction

Business owners in downtown Round Rock said they are struggling to keep their doors open because of road construction in the area.

Construction began on the North Mays Street corridor about one year ago and will continue until this fall at least.

Last year, Barbra Waldare and her husband put everything they have into their new business Wine Sensation.

They said right after they opened, construction started on North Mays Street and over the last few weeks the impact on their restaurant has become impossible to ignore.

"Last Thursday literally 8:00 it was like a ghost town," Barbra said.

That has cost Waldare so much money, she is operating short-staffed and still struggling.

"We're down last month $10,000 and that's a lot for a small business that's still trying to get their own, so yeah, we're a little nervous," Barbra said.

Waldare isn't alone. Other businesses owners said they have had to cut hours and several have lost between 30 and 60 percent of revenue.

"It's about all of us staying afloat and it's a small town," said Waldare.

"We completely sympathize with it. We don't sugar coat the construction. Construction is not fun for anyone," said Round Rock downtown manager Courtney Ainsworth.

The $13 million construction project is supposed to help grow foot-traffic downtown.

"The goals of the project are everything from aesthetic improvements along Mays corridor to trees, widened sidewalks, to adding a fifth lane to improve the traffic through Mays," Ainsworth said.

City staff is doing everything they can to help local business owners survive the project.

"We did a kick-off meeting with all the businesses, we do weekly, bi-weekly emails to all the businesses letting them know what to expect, what's coming up, to make sure they are informed throughout the project," said Ainsworth.

"I feel that we're not being informed enough so that we can come up with a game plan to stay open, that we have to go and find out the answers ourselves," Waldare said.

There is some good news for Waldare and other local business owners.

"It wasn't slated to be completed until March of next year. As of right now, barring any major weather delays, they're looking at substantial completion by fall of this year," said Ainsworth.

"It's great they're ahead of schedule, cities are hardly ever ahead of schedule so that's definitely good news, but, yeah, it still doesn't change what's going on," Waldare said.

What's going on is making it difficult for Barbra to hold on through the summer.

"You need to come in during the construction because some of these businesses that they love may not be here after the construction if they wait till its done," said Waldare.

Barbra said she posts updates on her businesses Facebook page to alert customers about the best route to take during construction.

City staff said they are also trying to remind people in Round Rock to visit local businesses in the construction area.

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