“For a large project with a short schedule, this has been very smooth.”
senior manager, TELICS
By Michael Abramowitz
Saturday, September 14, 2013
Preparations for the major change along Greenville’s 10th Street Connector project continued last week.
The N.C. Department of Transportation kept up property acquisition negotiations with some businesses while others already have relocated.
The new traffic corridor will directly connect the East Carolina University and Vidant medical campuses on Stantonsburg Road on the west side of the city with the university’s campus along East 10th Street.
A total of 34 businesses are affected by the new design that will straighten the corridor by demolishing many buildings and establishing rights of way that will eliminate access to others, according to officials with TELICS, the DOT’s right-of-way agent.
David Wetherington, manager of Nostalgia News Stand at the intersection of 10th Street and Dickinson Avenue, was busy on Thursday moving store products to a new location at 201 W. Ninth St. at the corner of Washington Street.
“If all goes as planned, we should be at our new spot within two weeks,” Wetherington said. “Our regular comic book collectors don’t want to miss a beat, so they’ve been paying close attention to what’s been going on.”
Taylor Keith, senior manager for TELICS, said the project is ahead of schedule. Of the 194 total acquisitions that have to be made along the length of the corridor, 13 have not been completed, Keith said. Several of the acquisitions did not involve relocation, but were easements or strip acquisitions to acquire space for the roadway, he said.
“For a large project with a short schedule, this has been very smooth,” Keith said.
The staff at Bob’s Barber Shop, owned by Bob Bowden and located on Dickinson Avenue right behind Nostalgia News, said they noticed a big drop off in customer visits since the start of the acquisition phase of the project.
“People don’t come down this way any more because there’s nothing to come down here to see since businesses started moving out,” barber Carlos Ebron said.
Ebron and his co-workers have been telling their customers about their plans to move Bob’s to its new location on Arlington Boulevard near J.H. Rose High School, Ebron said.
“(DOT) knows we’re just waiting for construction to be completed at the new location, so they’re just waiting for that to be finished,” Ebron said. “Our customers are ready for us to make the move.”
Ebron said the staff and the customers are happy to be moving to a newer location.
“We’ve been here since 1992, so it will be nice to be in a nice neighborhood and a new building,” Ebron said. “Some of the other businesses don’t even have a place to move to.”
Of the 35 business properties affected by the project, three have not yet been acquired, Keith said, and 10 acquired businesses have not made the move to another location.
John Hallow, owner of Lou’s Beach Bingo at 500 W. 10th St., said he still is unsure if a move is the best option for him, or whether he even will be required to leave. DOT is not requiring his building, just all of the large parking section of the property, he said.
“There would be a retainer wall very close to the building between it and the road, but there’s a lot of parking space available behind me and it’s possible I might be able to purchase that,” Hallow said.
Owners who move within a year of acquisition will receive $25,000 for their trouble, through updated provisions of the federal Surface Transportation and Uniform Relocation Assistance Act.
Walt Pollard — owner of Pollard and Son Heating, Plumbing and Air Conditioning on 10th Street — will be moving his business to 1523 Quality Lane, in the area north of the 264 Bypass near Lee’s Country Kitchen on Whichard Road. The toughest part of moving will not be finding an adequate location, he said.
“I’m the third generation in my family to own the business, after my grandfather and father,” Pollard said. “We’ve been at this place for more than 50 years. It’s always been the place where our entire family went to work, and it’s a part of my life. Up until five months ago, I never could see myself doing anything else or being anywhere else, so this is emotional for me.”
Keith is familiar with the difficulties people sometimes have moving homes and businesses for road projects, he said.
“There are always folks who don’t want to move, and in any situation, it’s a tough thing to do, but none of the residential properties had to be acquired by condemnation, and very few of the businesses were,” Keith said.
The acquisition process will continue until all the properties have been acquired, Keith said.
Contact Michael Abramowitz at email@example.com or 252-329-9571.
via The Daily Reflector.