Sunnyside construction temporarily forces restaurant to close

Sunnyside construction temporarily forces restaurant to close »Play Video
SUNNYSIDE, Wash. -- Sunnyside's work to revitalize its downtown has not only ripped up the streets. It's also ripping into some businesses - and those owners aren't too happy. KIMA spoke with one restaurant owner who said she had no choice but to close.

For Sunnyside leaders, a new downtown has been a long-term dream. But, now that the project is underway, it's taking a toll on local businesses.

A ripped-up road. No more sidewalks. Storefronts blocked by equipment.

"People did not come in because of the construction, and they thought we were closed," said Yesenia Navarro.

Yesenia owns the Super Tacos restaurant on 6th Street, between Edison and Franklin. She says business took a hit when construction began last month.

"It was very difficult because we did not have any money to pay the bills, and also the rent."

To save money, Yesenia closed the restaurant temporarily.

Construction marks the first phase of Sunnyside's downtown revitalization. There will be new infrastructure, in addition to a new road, sidewalks and curbs.

Call it a short-term pain for long-term gain, says Sunnyside.

"We do see the long-term benefit, and hopefully that will attract, if it's a nice-looking landscape, bring not only just foot traffic and people down there, but businesses that may be looking to locate see that as a good spot to go to," said Sunnyside Planning Supervisor Jamey Ayling.

But, for now, some shops are suffering. The water at one hair salon was cut off for three days, forcing its owner to cancel appointments.

Navarro called the city to complain about her restaurant, but says she didn't get far.

"They told me they can't do anything," she said. They were sorry, but they have to keep working on the project."

Ayling says meetings were held with business owners before construction began. He said crews have posted on a big white board near the construction site so people know who's still open for business.

A small consolation for Yesenia, who hopes to reopen for Cinco de Mayo.

Sunnyside leaders said crews are working as fast as possible to finish the first phase. Work on the next block of 6th Street is expected to begin in the middle of summer.