You have to feel for Yanni Karavergos.
The owner of The Corner Grill, at East 17th and Elm streets in Dubuque, has put his property on the market, planning to move or shutter his restaurant.
The culprit, the Greek immigrant explains, is a series of
community construction projects dating back to 2017 that disrupted the flow of traffic around his restaurant. Karavergos said at times there was construction all around his building, and it went on for well over a year, tied to a multi-phase storm sewer improvement project. “No business can survive that,” he said.
Other local business owners have experienced similar challenges, such as Rhomberg Avenue businesses impacted by the construction of the Bee Branch Watershed flood-mitigation project. On Central Avenue, construction around water infrastructure and another involving streetscaping have interrupted traffic flow. At least one business owner said she received little or no warning prior to both projects.
The city does make an effort to help businesses when they are affected by construction projects. In the case of The Corner Grill, the city installed business-specific signs directing patrons to the restaurant.
Still, business owners will tell you the impacts of construction are profound.
Likewise, community infrastructure projects are important and have far-reaching impacts. Like most complicated problems, good communication can go a long way toward addressing issues. The onus is on both the city (or county) and the business to keep informed and keep lines of communication open.
In extreme cases, when the obstruction lasts for months, perhaps the city could make low-interest loans available to small businesses struggling to get through a difficult time.
Citizens, too, can help with the problem. Rather than avoid altogether areas where construction might be underway, consider supporting a local business when it needs customers most.
Navigating road and infrastructure construction to lessen the impact on local business can be helped with raised awareness on the part of all stakeholders.
A tip of the cap to Eagles Club Aerie No. 1502 members in Prairie du Chien, Wis., who have kept alive an old school fundraising tradition — and brought in big bucks doing it.
The group recently hosted its 45th Heart and Cancer Telethon, airing for eight consecutive hours on public-access television and YouTube.
This year’s tally of $52,500 raised pushed the long-standing fundraiser’s all-time total over $1 million.
“We take a cold night in the winter and make it all about celebrating the community,” said event organizer Tom Nelson.
Nelson credited Mediacom, which contributed both equipment and manpower to the telethon. CenturyLink provided telephones for the event free of charge.
A groundswell of support throughout the community has helped the money raised balloon over the years.
Congrats to the Prairie du Chien folks who make this throwback fundraiser a community event for all to enjoy.
It’s not uncommon for the City of Dubuque to seek input on upcoming city projects. But the opportunity to bring design ideas for Comiskey Park will get a new twist with the help of a hip-hop artist and architect.
Michael Ford, who co-founded the Detroit-based Urban Arts Collective, will host a workshop from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 8, at Fulton Elementary School, 2540 Central Ave. Named the “Re-imagine Comiskey Hip Hop PARKitecture Workshop,” children ages 10 to 17 can participate in various activities to create design concepts for a redeveloped Comiskey Park.
What a cool idea to involve kids in the design of a neighborhood park — and with the unique assistance of an artist/architect. The kids don’t need any special skills. Lunch will be provided, and parents can come along, too.
Here’s hoping Comiskey neighborhood residents take advantage of this opportunity and bring kids out to help design their park. Register at cityofdubuque.org/comiskey or call 563-589-4263.