SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — David Bauer opened Harbell’s less than a month ago.
He says he was made aware of expected construction outside his business, just not when it would start until his staff called him.
“The cooks were kind of concerned about them just going home and the staff, how are they’re going to be able to make their ends meet,” Bauer said. “I’m losing money, but I’m getting people in the door and I’m trying to get my staff to stay on the clock.”
Two other businesses off-camera say they’ve seen slower business with the closures.
OzarksFirst reached out to City Utilities on the construction occupying the intersection of Campbell and College near the downtown square.
In a statement response, CU says:
“City Utilities of Springfield makes every effort to ensure community partners and affected businesses and residents are involved and aware as we work to improve our infrastructure throughout the community. The roadwork at College and Campbell in downtown Springfield is part of the Market Avenue natural gas and water renewal project to replace aging infrastructure in the area. A pre-planning meeting was held in late August to discuss a general timeline and scope of work. Along with City Utilities, members of the City of Springfield, Downtown Springfield Association and several nearby businesses were present at this meeting. Additionally, letters were sent to businesses and residents directly impacted by the road closure and social media posts leading up to the closure provided general information. While it’s possible some businesses not directly impacted by the closure did not receive a letter, City Utilities of Springfield will continue to communicate via other methods to ensure awareness of projects resulting in road closures.”
“I talked to City Utilities as well as the city, and they recognized that they had a little miss in the beat about getting a hold of people right about the time they were going to shut the road down,” Bauer says in response to the statement.
He adds the total closures have forced him to be creative.
“I’ll lose [around] $6,000 because we’re doing such big discounts just to keep get people in to keep my staff busy,” Bauer said. “We’re doing 25% off our to-go order. We’re paying for parking. If somebody parks in the parking lot, you take that off your ticket, that’s $5.”
Bauer adds that has no ill will towards CU for wanting to make improvements, and in fact, encourages progress.
He just wishes it was done differently.
“I just would like for the city and for City Utilities to understand how the economic impact is for the businesses around,” Bauer said. “If they could have revisited each the job site each day, they possibly could have opened some lanes.”
City Utilities says construction on that intersection should end at the end of this week or by early next week.
Then, crews will move to McDaniel and Market for future construction.