WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — The city of West Palm Beach is moving up the timetable for the completion of the next phase of the Clematis Streetscape project.
City commissioners voted unanimously Monday to break ground Tuesday so that when the COVID-19 pandemic subsides businesses can hit the ground running.
Franklin Villarrol is part owner American Craft Aleworks on Clematis in downtown West Palm Beach. He said they opened in May 2019 and right away they had to deal with construction.
"That was brutal," he said. "It was really hard. I would say it was hard on every single business down here, not having any foot traffic."
He said once the construction ended, they began to hit a groove. Then the coronavirus pandemic shuttered many businesses on Clematis Street. Franklin said the restaurant closed for two weeks and opened back up.
"What made most sense to us is to get out here and serve the people," he said.
The multi-phase Clematis Streetscape project isn't finished yet.
Ccity commissioners unanimously agreed Monday afternoon to start construction on the 500 block Tuesday when it was initially supposed to begin in May after SunFest. The plan is to work weekends and overtime to get it done faster.
"I think it's great that they are fast-tracking it and making it to where, when this is all over, it'll be a lot easier to conduct our business as usual," Franklin said.
The project is expected to cost about $7 million and take four to five months to complete.