Community leaders protest after Livernois Streetscape Project hurts businesses in Detroit

Business owners blame lack of parking

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DETROIT – The Livernois Streetscape Project in Detroit aims to make the growing avenue of fashion even more attractive to visitors, but right now it's just hurting business owners.

One business owner said since the project began, his business is down 70 percent. Business owners blame a lack of parking, torn up sidewalks and a street that looks like a war zone. They said the city's efforts to help came too late.

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan even admitted the situation is worse than expected. The area at 7 Mile Road and Livernois Avenue is a giant construction zone and has left businesses asking for more help.

Civil rights groups and some local business owners have braved the dug up intersection, angry at what has become of the city's long-called Avenue of Fashion.

"Sixty percent of my business customers stopped coming, so you can't take a 60 percent loss and stay open. It's been difficult for a lot of businesses," former business owner Vincent Sheffield said.

The city is offering business loans to those seriously inconvenienced. Sheffield said a grant is what's really needed.

"Initially, there wasn't a plan for us, a plan for survival. So, six months before groundbreaking, everything should have been put in place for businesses to survive, and it wasn't," Sheffield said.

Duggan admitted the transformative project has not gone as well as it should have.

"It may have been a mistake to go from 7 to 8 Mile in one year. The businesses wanted that because they wanted to get it over with. We were not as well prepared for that kind of disruption," Duggan said.

Watch the video above for the full report from Local 4 News at 5.

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