Business owners frustrated about Gay St. closure, lost revenue

Business owners frustrated about Gay Street closure, lost revenue

Posted:
Some downtown business owners are looking for answers after they were forced to close their doors on what could have been the busiest day of the year so far. Some downtown business owners are looking for answers after they were forced to close their doors on what could have been the busiest day of the year so far.
"I was told by a police officer when I got to the end of the street that I couldn't even enter," said Josh Sidman, owner of The Parlor music store on Gay Street. "I was told by a police officer when I got to the end of the street that I couldn't even enter," said Josh Sidman, owner of The Parlor music store on Gay Street.
No traffic was allowed through near his store for most of the day because of the construction work. No traffic was allowed through near his store for most of the day because of the construction work.
"We've been pretty successful at getting that communicated. Occasionally the ball gets dropped as it was recently so it's time to review our policies and procedures," said Rick Emmett, Downtown Coordinator for the City of Knoxville. "We've been pretty successful at getting that communicated. Occasionally the ball gets dropped as it was recently so it's time to review our policies and procedures," said Rick Emmett, Downtown Coordinator for the City of Knoxville.

By WHITNEY GOOD
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Some downtown business owners are looking for answers after they were forced to close their doors on what could have been the busiest day of the year so far.

6 News got a tip on Saturday about the situation.

A crane was set up in the middle of Gay Street, and police were not allowing anyone through including customers and some employees.

"I was told by a police officer when I got to the end of the street that I couldn't even enter," said Josh Sidman, owner of The Parlor music store on Gay Street.

No traffic was allowed through near his store for most of the day because of the construction work.

"We had no notice and this was not the first time that's happened. This was the third time in the past year," said Sidman.

No notice was just one of the issues for Sidman and fellow business owners.

They say it forced them to either pay employees for time worked with no revenue or send employees home who were counting on those hourly wages.

"As the business owner do I absorb the complete loss caused by someone else's action?" said Sidman.

City officials say it was a lack of communication and a misunderstanding that caused the mix up.

6 News obtained a copy of the work permit issued, and it only says the street will be closed no mention of the sidewalk.

"We've been pretty successful at getting that communicated. Occasionally the ball gets dropped as it was recently so it's time to review our policies and procedures," said Rick Emmett, Downtown Coordinator for the City of Knoxville.

Now they say the goal is to have more meetings with the contractor and business owners before work begins.

"Probably going to have to have on-site meetings with the contractor to understand exactly what their requirements are going to be so we can have input. It may be that we are not going to allow certain things to happen," said Emmett.

The work only lasted through the day on Saturday, but several business owners tell 6 News they lost thousands of dollars because of the closure.

City officials say they are still looking into this specific incident and will keep looking for ways to improve the closure process.

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