Businesses call President Street construction disruptive - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Businesses concerned over President Street construction

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Ameir Mustafa Ameir Mustafa

Ameir Mustafa has been making signs for Savannah for 12 years, and you may not know his name, but you've seen his signage work: B&D Burgers on Broughton, 24e, Molly McPherson's and Seed.  But he's concerned it may be his last.

We first met with Mustafa last fall when President Street construction hit a snag and work was delayed for at least two months. He limped through that part of the roadwork, but now the next phase may just cripple him for good.

He worries, "I can definitely lose the business, lose what I have because basically, I can't sustain business that way."

The next phase of the overall project ripped up Randolph Street in front of his business, Signs for Minds.  You cannot reach him from President Street or McIntosh Boulevard, and now, the city has closed Broughton - all of his access points.

Bret Bell with the city of Savannah explains, "All of these infrastructure projects are extremely disruptive, and this one is even more so.  It's a difficult project, the lines are very deep, deeper than anywhere else in the city of Savannah."

Bell also says it's a project that has to be done for water, sewer, and drainage that affects the whole city, which makes Mustafa feel outnumbered.

"My voice doesn't mean anything if I'm the only one on this road." He said. "Tear that road apart, do whatever, it's okay to damage his business."

He is filing a formal complaint with the city and could be compensated for lost income.

Bell says, "He can certainly file a petition with the city of Savannah."

Ameir says that's putting more burden on him, "Throw paperwork at you, tell you do this right here, and we'll deal with you later."

And Mustafa says there may not be a later.  He says he can make do for three more months tops, but things are starting to pile up like his unpaid rent, broken equipment that he cannot fix without revenue, and paying his employees.

He already sends his employees home early, "I tell them to go home because there's nothing for them to do because no customers are coming in."

Now the city did learn from the first phase of this project when they encountered unmarked utility lines.  Bell says, "We hired another contractor to speed up the process as much as possible."

Bell says Randolph Street construction should be finished in three weeks. 

Mustafa is doubly frustrated because he moved his business from Skidaway Road, when he thought future widening construction would hinder his business there, only to encounter this. 

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