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Growing alliance says Clematis Streetscape Project could force closures

Posted at 11:33 PM, Sep 23, 2019

The Clematis Streetscape Project is a multi-phase plan billed to boost business and leisure but now there’s a growing alliance of businesses that say the project could force them to close.

Pat Fiore has eaten at Pizza Girls on Clematis since the late 90’s for the food and customer service. But these days he calls himself a rarity.

”Some customers aren’t going to walk four blocks to get here,” he said.

It’s a reality for George Poole, the man behind the pizza. Poole is one of two employee on the night shift during weekdays. Down from three. He says he started making fewer pizzas as soon as the project began in early June.

”When they shut that road down we started to lose revenue day one,” Poole said.

In fact, his boss, Jennifer Morales says business is down 60 percent to 70 percent.

”We don’t even talk finances with our employees - but that’s how desperate we are,” Morales said.

It’s desperation that has spread.

”I used to have 22 employees. I currently have 11 employees now,” said Carlos Mendez, owner of Tapeo Tapas Bar and Restaurant.

And he too says business is down by 60 percent. And delays only make things worse.

”This project was supposed to be over in October and what we’re hearing now is January and February,” Mendez said. “How do I lose my best months of the year? November. December. January. That’s season. That’s where your heart and soul is. If I can’t have those months then I can’t be in business.”

Business owners say they plan to meet with city leaders at the next commissioners meeting with a larger alliance and the same message.

”We need help. We need support,” Morales added.

WPTV reached out to the city late Monday to get reaction to business owners’ complaints. We have not heard back yet.