Ross Demo Hurts Downtown Businesses

By WBNG News

July 22, 2010 Updated Jun 30, 2008 at 10:20 PM EST

Many people are avoiding downtown Binghamton until the the Ross Building demolition project is complete.

And, some local businesses are feeling the effects.

As Action News Reporter Julianne Sweeney tells us, owners are looking for a way to recover lost business.

"Without the local, small businesses...the ma and pa businesses, there is no downtown." says Vincent Watkins.

Watkins owns Binghamton's Pirate's Chest and Captain's Cafe.

Open only 18 months, and already sales are down 12 to 15 percent.

Watkins blames the Ross Building demolition project for keeping customers away.

"One of the reasons owners say they're seeing less business is because construction is blocking traffic."

"I used to have the drive by business in the mornings, that's totally gone now. The cabbies used to pull up, and there's no through traffic anymore." says Watkins.

There's no way for businesses to get out of the red.

The city does not have any available funds to compensate owners for their financial losses.

Mayor Matt Ryan says he's looking at state assistance programs to possibly help ease the burden.

Still, with even more downtown construction on the horizon, Ryan wants owners to be forewarned.

"Ya know, there will be some inconvenience, but at the end of the day, the City of Binghamton will be a much better place and much more competitive." says Ryan.

Marilyn's Bake Shoppe is trying to stay optimistic.

Katie Cline says despite construction, some people do find their way to her business.

"We're just so grateful to our regulars. They've been fantastic. And, they trudge through the dust and crude and all that, and they just keep coming." says Cline.

Demolition is expected to be complete by the third week in July.

A date, business owners already have marked on their calendars.

In Binghamton, Julianne Sweeney, WBNG-TV, Action News.

Many business owners have already met with city council members.

Mayor Matt Ryan says they're working together to find a solution to this problem.

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