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Local Business Owners React to Route 120 Bridge Progress

CHAPPAQUA, NY-- Perhaps the most excited about the news that construction on the Route 120 bridge will be substantially completed by the end of 2011 were local business owners in Chappaqua.

“Hip hip hooray for it finally being finished,” said Family Britches co-owner Barry Mishkin . “I thank everybody involved for their time and effort, but it has been a drag on business.”

Mishkin said the oft-delayed, three-plus year construction has adversely affected his business, which is located near the bridge on King Street. He believes lane closures and traffic delays on the bridge have discouraged out-of-towners from coming to shop in Chappaqua.

“Everybody did the best they could to minimize the inconvenience, but to have the main bridge in town out for that period of time, or have limited access, it’s been a problem,” said Mishkin.

Even with the finish line in sight, others believe that the damage to their businesses has already been done.

“What you have to understand about retail is that it doesn’t turn off and on like a switch,” said one business owner. “When it takes 30 minutes to get into town, they’re gonna go elsewhere.”

The owner believes that the bridge only needed to be renovated, and that tearing it down and rebuilding it was unnecessary.

In her report, however, Town Supervisor Barbara Gerrard said that the bridge was structurally deficient and beyond the point of repair.

“It had to be demolished and rebuilt from scratch,” Gerrard said.

She also cited the recently opened parking lot behind Bank of America as having a positive impact on the area. The lot now has 171 available spaces, which she said is 16 to 18 more than before the redesign.

According to Gerrard, a furniture store, Kent, recently moved onto South Greeley Avenue because the owner was encouraged by the improvements being made to the area.

Remaining realistic about how successful the state of the economy will allow his local business to be, Mishkin is also encouraged by the progress and expects to see an improvement once the bridge is completed.

“Those people get to come back and the downtown’s gonna look great,” said Mishkin.

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