CONCORD, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — Businesses in downtown Concord are in the middle of a construction zone because parts of the district’s main thoroughfare are shut down for a massive streetscaping project on Union Street. 

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The sidewalks are open, but the stretch between Cabarrus and Corban avenues is not open to cars, and some businesses say it’s turning customers away.       

The chorus of construction in Concord is meant to represent progress over the long haul, but businesses say it’s a hardship in the meantime. 

This map shows the segments of construction along Union Street. (Courtesy: City of Concord)

“Eventually it will be nice down here, but it has affected all of the small businesses in the area,” said Sandy Chamberlain, a hairstylist at Evergreen on Union Salon. “We have a good bit of walk-ins, especially when they have the small-business appreciation weekend.” 

But the real concern is for her clients. There’s no on-street parking in front of the salon because of all the construction on Union Street.  

“It has affected a lot of my elderly clients, as far as them being able to get in and out of the salon, because usually they were at least being able to be dropped off at the door and walk in,” said Chamberlain. 

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The city is pumping in about $13 million for the streetscape, along with massive investments by private developers building apartments and the county building a new courthouse just down the street. 

The sidewalks are open during construction, and there are two public parking decks nearby. 

“The actual customers themselves have to look for parking either in the parking garages or the places they can find,” said Lisa Tackett, who lives in downtown Concord.  

The owner of another business says construction is already eating into his sales. 

“We’re probably dropped maybe 40 percent since this construction situation’s happened,” said Frank Caraccio, owner of Not Just Franks, a hotdog and pretzel eatery on Union Street. 

Not Just Franks is a lunchtime spot now in the middle of the work zone. 

“We do depend on foot traffic, and the folks that do make it here, they’re like, ‘What is going on?” said Caraccio. 

The planned finished product looks nice, but businesses are hoping they don’t have to pay a price for progress. 

“We’ll just have to get through the hard times,” said Caraccio. “I mean it won’t be harder than COVID-19 was, that’s for sure.” 

The city says it’s adding more signage to let people know the businesses are still open and asking construction workers not to park on Market Street in order to open that up for customers. 

Work on the streetscape is expected to wrap up in the fall of 2024. 

Once the streetscaping project is complete, the city says there will be 11 parking spots on Union Street, including two new ADA-accessible spots. 

More information on the streetscaping project is available on the city of Concord website