CHICAGO (CBS) —It’s been roadblock after literal roadblock for businesses in the little town of Richmond, Illinois on the Wisconsin border.
First, it lost lost business to open neighbors to the north. As CBS 2 Investigator Megan Hickey reports, on the cusp of reopening, it is worried that an ill-timed construction project might physically keep their patrons away.
Friday is the big day for businesses like the Hideaway Inn to finally reopen to patrons. But it’s running into one more obvious problem.
After hand-dipping chocolates for 101 years, Anderson’s Candy Shop refuses to give up without a fight.
“That is our concern right now is hanging in there and hanging on until we can get to our busy time, which is the fall, Christmas and Easter,” said Tracy Anderson.
After the stay-at-home order was issued, the next hurdle came two weeks ago when neighboring Walworth County Wisconsin opened for business. Now, on the eve of finally getting their chance to reopen….
“The road project I learned about last week,” Anderson said. “Could the timing be any worse?”
IDOT announced the project on May 13. Patching and resurfacing the main drag in Richmond, widening shoulders, and updating the sidewalks.
“Well this is a bit of a surprise,” said Brian O’Connor.
Sidewalks, like the one leading to the front door of O’Connor’s gaming lounge on the corner.
“I wish things had been planned a little differently, a little earlier. But it is what it is,” he said.
CBS 2 reached out to IDOT about the decision to start the work right as businesses enter Phase 3 of the Restore Illinois plan.
A spokesperson said the project has been in the works since 2018. The agency was contacted by a business owner with concerns about access and IDOT said it will work to address any issues.
Why tear up relatively new looking sidewalks?
IDOT said it wasn’t responsible for the recent work and they’re not ADA compliant. So now hardworking businesses owners hope that this latest challenge will push their patrons even harder to come out and support them.
“It’s unfortunate timing, but were hoping everyone rolls with it and it goes smooth and quick. And is done fast,” Anderson said.
IDOT said the overall project is expected to be completed, weather permitting, by the end of August. However, the sidewalk portion will be completed within the next two weeks.