Stories from intrepid reporters attending the Illinois Press Foundation Journalism Workshop at Eastern Illinois University
By Dominika Chruszcz, Olivia Homel, and Madison Parola
The rumbling jackhammers distract pedestrians walking down Green Street from maintaining a conversation. With an added inaccessibility of parking from construction; started May 6, is steadily showing an impact on local businesses.
Apricot Lane Boutique, located at the intersection of Green and Wright Street, hasn’t been affected by the construction.
“Mostly it’s summer. We always get slower in summer because the students are gone.” Shannon Skulborstad, an employee of Apricot Lane Boutique said. “So, I haven’t noticed a noticeable difference.”
The parking in the area also takes a great toll on who visits what stores.
“People already find it hard to park around here and the meters are only thirty minutes; so if you’re coming here to browse then it’s a little harder.” Skulborstad said. “Plus there’s only two retail stores on campus besides Ragstock.”
According to Skulborstad, the boutique will not have such a harsh loss because of the sales they make online. Employees of another clothing store, Main Outlet, agree that the construction wouldn’t affect their revenue. Olivia Tuggle and Michelle Fairbarin gave their opinions about the issue.
“I wouldn’t really say so because we have all of our registration,” Fairbarin said. “Our camps—obviously those are still going on.”
Jeff and Michele Fassett, owners of Main Outlet, do however understand the negative effects of the construction.
“There’s no parking, there’s students every which way and outside of; like a game day, when they’re walking here or something like that—you don’t get a lot of townspeople coming in,” Michele Fassett said.
Jeff Fassett doubts there will be federal funding for construction on other streets, as well as Green Street, because budgets are getting cut “right and left.”
Some businesses still think that the impact will be a lot more drastic.
Employee of Ragstock, Valerie Jordan, thinks that the construction has affected their business “110%.”
“We’ve been preparing ourselves for this and Ragstock’s not new to construction. We’ve dealt with it with other stores before,” Jordan said. “It will still impact businesses and we’ll still see a decrease. Construction around here takes notoriously longer.”