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Dillon construction project delays hurting downtown businesses

Posted at 6:43 AM, Jun 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-17 10:15:32-04

DILLON — A major water and sewer project being done in downtown Dillon has become a major pain for several local businesses who say delays have caused a lot of disruption in their business.

“A lot of people think that we’re closed, that our streets are closed, a lot of the locals know they can kind of venture down this way, but our tourists just don’t know that,” said the manager of African Oasis Kaitlin Kimzey.

Dillon was awarded in January almost $2 million from the American Rescue Plan Act to replace its century-old water and sewer lines. Weather and other problems have caused delays in the project and many business owners are getting frustrated.

“They were very upset. They have been told they would replace the water and sewer lines and then they would get it back to at least a gravel road within two weeks. It’s been eight weeks and there’s no end in sight,” said Dillon Councilwoman for Ward 4 Mary Jo O’Rourke.

This time of year is important for the local businesses.

“We all just really thrive off the tourism season in summer, and it’s basically what gets us through our slow winters around here,” said Kimzey.

City Hall has heard the complaints.

“I know the construction is causing some of it, but is it all of it? I don’t know,” said Dillon Mayor John McGinley.

Many businesses were impacted by the past two years of the pandemic and were looking forward to a good summer.

“We know we need to do water lines, we understand that our infrastructure is old, but this has been hard,” said the owner of The Bookstore Debbie Sporich.

Much of the frustration comes from the fact that business owners thought a lot of these projects were going to be completed sooner. Obviously, they’re still ongoing and some say there has just been a breakdown in communication between the city and businesses.

“Yeah, we failed at our job to communicate, I think, over the last month, probably. I should make a better effort to get out to the public,” said McGinley.

Sporich added, “All we really need is to hear, you know, something that assures us this will be done.”

Stageline Pizza will be hosting a block party on Saturday beginning at 11 a.m. to help raise money for local businesses affected by the construction and to bring people downtown.