Providence Business Leader Blasts City Over Construction and Lack of Communication

Sunday, May 15, 2022

 

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File photo from earlier construction in front of Marc Allen PHOTO: GoLocal

Marc Streisand, the owner of Marc Allen Fine Clothiers – one of Rhode Island’s top retailers, is criticizing the city of Providence for what he says is a lack of communications by Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza’s administration regarding construction.

On Saturday, he was forced to close his store on South Main Street due to road work — and said there was no notice from the city prior to the work being conducted.

“It’s with a heavy heart that I let all of our clients know, that today we will have to close the store due to the massive construction being done on our street. The city of Providence is unable to communicate with all the public works division and therefore, each one comes and digs up what the other had previously opened up and completed,” wrote Streisand.

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He added:

“We have begged for help from @mayorofpvd but it seems to continually fall on deaf ears.
We have continued to support our local government in the growth and expansion of the city, but it’s unfortunate that they do not reciprocate.
We have lost hundreds of thousands of dollars over the past 10+ years of this construction, yet we just have to suck it up.
The city of providence should be ashamed of itself for allowing this fleecing to go on and on.”

 

 

“The Gazzillionth Time”

This is not the first time the retailers in the area have decried the impact of the construction and the lack of coordination by city officials.

In December of 2020, GoLocal reported on the failure of the city to coordinate the construction and communicate to business owners.

If the coronavirus, the summer riots, a recession, and now the December partial closures weren’t enough, now National Grid has been blocking traffic, tearing up the street and sidewalks directly in front of dozens of retailers and small restaurants in Providence.

In an average year, the holiday season is a make or break time of survival for local retailers. This year is not an average year.

From the southern end of South Main Street straight through to North Main, a National Grid project has blocked off almost all public parking, ripped up the streets and closed off sidewalks, and the company has installed barriers.

The impact has been nothing short of devastating for small business owners.

“This [road work] is supposed to go away soon. In the meantime, no one walked into the store today. I’ve literally seen the mailman and Fed Ex man, and that’s it,” said Todd Lattimore, the owner of Found Antiques. “This is cuckoo crazy for cocoa puffs. There is literally a barrier on the sidewalk saying please use the other sidewalk — how are people supposed to get in my store?”

For the range of businesses — clothing, restaurant and antique shops, the virus has been devastating, but the impact the government-approved construction during the holiday season and the lack of concern by National Grid has been demoralizing.

“Even though our state and local government is allowing them to continually rip up our street…for the gazillionth time….we are open and have secured parking for you behind our building,” said Marc Streisand, the owner of the high-end clothier Marc Allen.

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