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Business Owner Nearly Crushed By ART

Business Owner Nearly Crushed By ART

Woes continue for stores and customers on Central

An Albuquerque business owner said she was nearly crushed by her boutique’s front door last week when Albuquerque Rapid Transit construction workers removed the foundation from underneath the door causing it to fall off its hinges.

Belita Clover, owner of Octopus and the Fox, said she came to work on April 20 with no knowledge that construction workers were excavating the sidewalk in front of her shop at 514 Central SE. When she opened her front door, it fell over because there was no ground underneath to hold the door’s weight.

Thank God the construction workers were there and caught the door,” Clover said, adding that she closed the shop that day because the store was inaccessible.

The next day, construction workers added a metal walkway from the entrance of the shop that led into a pile of rocky debris. The building shook from a vibrating jackhammer that advanced to the front window of the boutique.

It’s a total mess. I don’t want people to think I’m exaggerating. It’s been like this for seven months. Every day it’s something new,” Clover said.

Clover has been dealing with ART construction since October. She’s lost so many customers that she’s been paying business bills out of her savings account and started a fundraising campaign to keep the store from closing for good.

I’m not against the project. I’m against the way it’s being done,” Clover said. Like many other EDo business owners, Clover did not receive notification from the city as to when the sidewalk was going to be dug up.

2 Time Couture store manager Rebecca Tuccillo said ART construction has surprised her as well. Although business has been down by 25 percent at the store at 600 Central SE, she said she’s mainly concerned for her customers’ safety what with bulldozers and pickaxes being swung near people navigating the site. Pedestrians are confused about where they are supposed to walk, she said.

Tuccillo added that since construction started, she has witnessed four to five auto accidents on Central as drivers are confused about where to turn.

Bradbury Stamm Construction superintendent Mark Mares has been working on the project from Broadway Boulevard to Interstate 25 for a month and witnessed confusion from pedestrians about where to cross the street and where to walk as well.

I was telling my guys, ‘We’re working for the city. Let’s make sure the public is safe first and keep an eye out for them,’” Mares said.

While many business owners have been left in the dark as to ART project specifics, Clover doesn’t blame the guys in the hard hats. “I feel bad for the construction workers. They’re just trying to do their job,” she said.





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Sara MacNeil is an editorial intern at ABQ Free Press Weekly.

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