Business owner says Water Street construction continues to hurt local stores

Water Street businesses are impacted by more construction

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - For more than two years, Tony Savas has had to deal with ongoing construction on Water Street, directly in front of his business Tugboat Tony’s. Just 10 days ago the city once again blocked off the portion of road in front of his store in order to once again, do construction work - now - Savas is hoping the City of Wilmington will help him out and provide some parking.

This past week, a customer of Tony’s reached out to Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo with a suggestion of how to help - renting three parking spaces and designating them as 15 minute spaces for customers of the stores affected by the ongoing work. That idea is something that sits well with Savas and hopes the city will do.

“We agree with our customer, all we ask for is that the city lease out three parking spaces up the street here so people can actually park for 15 minutes and be able to actually get to these businesses along water street,” he said.

And it’s not just the parking issues, flooding has also been an ongoing problem for Water Street.

“There was water coming down from up on Front street and we had to suffer here even though we had parking here at that time people couldn’t park because the water was 3-4-5 inches,” Savas said about the flooding.

While WECT was on location Friday morning, the City of Wilmington did have staff on location putting bags over four of the parking meters near Savas’ store designating them as 15-minute parking spaces for customers.

According to a spokesperson for the City of Wilmington, the project should be wrapping up in June.

“The joint City/CFPUA project to overhaul Water Street from Market to Red Cross began in 2017 and is slated to wrap up in June. Major adjacent projects such as city bulkhead repair, USCG bulkhead repair, and the construction of River Place have played a factor in the timing of the phases of this project. The final phase of underground work is currently underway in front of the Water Street Center,” he said.

And as far as the city helping out the business goes - the city is looking into it.

“The city is currently talking with the owner of the private parking lot at the corner of Water and Princess Streets about the possibility of leasing some dedicated spaces in that lot for use by patrons of the businesses at the Water Street Center,” according to the city.

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