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Kenwood Rd. improvements hurting businesses
SYCAMORE TOWNSHIP, Ohio (Joe Webb) -- Sycamore Township may have fixed some safety issues on Kenwood Road but they've some raised other issues with local businesses.
"When you make it hard to get into a store customers will drive on by," Graeter's Ice Cream CEO Richard Graeter said while holding a chart of his Kenwood Road store's sales.
"Since the construction began, this is what has happened. Our sales have fallen almost $140,000. It was number one. It was our best store."
Not any more.
A $2.7 million dollar project to improve Kenwood Road between Euclid and Montgomery, included a median. Drivers can no longer turn left into or out of the businesses. The Burger King says business is off 40%. Several businesses in the shopping center east of Kenwood Road say they've lost 10% to 15% of their customers. Some are considering relocating.
Sycamore Township Trustee Tom Weidman sympathizes with the businesses but says the township had no choice. Weidman says that stretch of Kenwood was one of the most dangerous in the county and had to be fixed.
"It was a safety issue for us. It was a critical safety issue for us," Weidman said Wednesday afternoon. "Our traffic engineers said the median was the safest option."
Despite the headache for businesses, many drivers say they like the changes.
"I think going through the construction was rough but it was well worth it," Janet Vest of Goshen said on her way to work. "Less accidents and I think the traffic flows a lot better. It's an improvement."
Sycamore Township is spending an additional $1-million to build an access road behind Wendy's, Burger King and Graeter's. They hope to start construction in the spring.
Graeter says that will help but will take three spaces out of his parking lot. He's not thrilled with it, but knows the median is there to stay.
"It's there. There's nothing we can do about it. We're going to make the best of it. Our customers are great and they will figure out how to find us and we'll persevere."
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