Some business owners concerned over downtown Sarasota beautification project

Lemon Avenue construction

SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - Construction on Main Street Sarasota began last week, and since, crews have closed down parts of Lemon Avenue.

Some business owners say they’re affected by this construction.

“June is typically a pretty good month for us, but with the construction, it’s definitely hindering our business a little bit,” said Caryn Hodge, Marketing Director for Mattison’s Restaurants.

One of their restaurants is located on the corner of Lemon Avenue and Main Street. And since last week, their view is a little different.

“It’s a little nosier than normal,” she said.

Construction crews closed down that intersection, as the City of Sarasota is working on adding paver brick on the street and sidewalks. They’ll also be adding new lighting and landscaping.

City officials weren’t able to meet with ABC7 on Thursday, but they told us their goal is to create a pedestrian-friendly environment.

While some business owners say they’re happy for these improvements, they’re also concerned about their revenue.

“[People] are reluctant to walk here because of the barricades, and they can’t get here with their cars so it’s definitely hurting our business a little bit,” said Hodge.

Some locals say they’re hesitant to visit the area.

“The commuting is drawing attention from downtown, which is probably the last thing we need,” said AJ Wattz.

“As a young person who likes to support local businesses, like Brewster’s and Smokin’ Joes, the fact is that I can’t go there now because it’s difficult to go walk through,” said Demi Summerville.

But business owners say they'll be open during this time, and can't wait for construction to be over soon.

“We appreciate the city doing this work,” said Enrico Legnani, owner of The Herbarium. “Hopefully they finish soon.”

Construction on this intersection is expected to finish on July 5th, for the Boats on the Block party.

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