Redevelopment worries stir in Ho-Ho-Kus

October 1, 2009 3:04:50 PM PDT
It's a makeover project that's costing more than a half a million dollars, but it's not just the price tag that has business owners in downtown Ho-Ho-Kus, New Jersey, so concerned. The town is ready to hit it's holiday stride, decorating for the fall. It hopes to charm shoppers through New Years.

"We look forward to the holidays so we can make good on our bottom line," store owner Sandy Russo said.

But shop owners along the main drag fear the planned beautification project and utilities work on the streets and sidewalks will hurt business at a critical time to make money.

"First of all, they're taking away parking spaces," deli co-owner Ernie Garbaccio said. "And there is no good time to do anything like this."

"And they want to do it October, November and December, when we really need to make money," co-owner Janet Barbaccio said.

One store owner says business hadn't fully recovered from when the recession hit, and the last thing they need is anything that might drive more customers away.

"I've been here 26 years," salon owner Bernadette Campana said. "I don't know what's gonna happen. They're gonna tear up the sidewalks."

"July and August would have been nicer to do it," florist Glen Carullo said. "Now, with the economy so bad? It should have been done in July and August."

It's the same story right down the street. Russo just opened her children's eco-friendly clothing store six weeks ago.

"I think when the project is completed, it will be good for the town," she said. "I think it needs it, I just think it's bad timing that will hurt new businesses and old businesses alike."

Announcements say the beautification project has been eight years in the making. When completed, it's supposed to have more parking, trees, lighting and sidewalk upgrades. The project begins in a few days and won't be completed until the spring.

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WEB PRODUCED BY: Bill King

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