Bloomfield restaurant owner fears streetscape will hurt business
BLOOMFIELD, Iowa —
The City of Bloomfield is testing out its new streetscape design. City officials now have everyone's attention.
KTVO spoke with a Bloomfield business owner who's upset with the change.
“I'm scared for the future of our business," said Jessie Hernandez, owner of CJ’s Family Restaurant.
She says business is suffering this week now that the city is painting the streets to show what the streetscape will look like if it moves forward as planned. The experiment will last through January.
Bloomfield has been pushing the $3.7 million project for more than a year now.
The switch from center street parking to angled is an effort to beautify the downtown, a chance to repair the sidewalks and streets, and to make travel safer for pedestrians.
Hernandez wasn't for or against the project earlier this year. That changed, though, now that she knows streetscape will take away the parking in front of her business.
"46 feet for a crosswalk and for flowers and trees is a little excessive," Hernandez said.
Parking has been the main concern from the beginning.
"I’m for the overall plan of the streetscape. I think it would be a huge plus for the community. Let's get this parking issue out of the way so we can move forward," said Edward Jones Financial Advisor John Stookesberry.
For the next four months, city officials will be counting the empty parking spaces to see if the new design works.
"This is the opportunity to experience this,” said Interim Public Works Director Chris Ball. “That's the whole reason that we did it with paint, before we start bringing in bulldozers, and try it out, and bring that feedback to the council.”
Many are already frustrated with the change.
"The negative feedback…it's hard in some respects, because while there are people who have very general and specific concerns and we talk with them, what's disappointing is that there will be people driving by, swearing at the guys who are doing the painting,” said Bloomfield City Administrator Gary Boden.
Once the trial period ends in January, construction could begin as early as next summer.
"Our biggest concern is, if this goes through and they actually begin to break ground, we will have to close our doors while construction is going on," Hernandez said.
Hernandez, and several others, are planning to voice their concerns at Thursday night's city council meeting.