Along Laurel Street, scaffolding has lined the sidewalk by the Spivey building, which is undergoing construction on the exterior. That scaffolding was removed as of Monday. A dumpster still sits in a parking spot and loads of supplies are routinely being dropped off at the site.
Cannon, whose store has been open at 310 Laurel St. since February 2021, said the area is a true construction site, with trash and cigarettes on the ground and a porta-potty with a strong odor.
“This is not what downtown Conway is supposed to look like,” she said.
Emrick said council was faced with a difficult decision to allow the extension of parking spots being used for construction staging, but was encouraged by the thought and time council put into the decision.
During last week’s council meeting, Conway Councilman William Goldfinch said both parties needed to work together and find common ground.
“We gotta finish the project,” he said. “Nobody has dedicated parking spots downtown…that hasn’t changed, that’s always been in place. We want to see this project wrap up…so let’s find some balance, guys.”
Councilman Alex Hyman echoed Goldfinch: “It’s not like we can hold a project up. That’s not going to work,” he said. “I don’t think we can shut down a construction site.”
Cannon said she is “all on board” with downtown redevelopment, but did not realize it would cause a strain on her business. She said she saw a glimpse of hope after Mustard Seed recently reopened, thinking construction would be wrapping up soon. But that wasn’t the case.
“Every week I’ve had to put money into this account,” she said. “We should be making money, not putting money into it.”
When the projects are completed, Emrick said he is hopeful that it will improve downtown.
“It will improve the entire function of the street and everybody on it when it’s done,” he said. “And that’s really what we have to strive for. Buildings that are not being used to their full extent are wasteful, wasted resources.”
Read the full article here