Detroit small businesses struggle to stay afloat amid Avenue of Fashion construction project

Business owners say Avenue of Fashion overhaul might force them to close

DETROIT - Small business owners in one of Detroit's new hotspots, the Avenue of Fashion, are crying foul, saying the city's construction project might force them to close for good.

The construction project is supposed to transform the busy retail hub in the city, but it's creating trouble for businesses.

"It is crippling our businesses because there's really nowhere to park and a lot of people think Livernois is shut down," said Ladonna Reynolds, of Good Times restaurant.

It's a one-mile stretch of Livernois that's home to boutiques, bars and trendy nightspots. The area is expected to be beautiful when the project is done, but businesses are having a hard time surviving until that point.

"What we have to do is work together as Livernois businesses and then say to the city, 'We have been impacted,'" said Hugh Smith, of Baker's Keyboard Lounge.

Customers are having trouble getting to the businesses because of the road construction and beautification plan.

Some business owners are blaming the city. Signage is now in place, parking areas have been set up and a grant program is being rolled out, but business owners are wondering why it took so long.

"We're going to start having a different approach to this going forward," said Arthur Jemison, of Detroit's planning and development department. "There was definitely a gap."

You can watch Local 4 Consumer Investigator Hank Winchester's full story in the video posted above.

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