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Construction takes a toll on local businesses in East Lansing

EAST LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) - It's orange barrel season out there on the roads and there's lots of new development happening throughout East Lansing.

If you've been through the city, you can't miss the construction along Grand River near Abbot and Albert Avenue and all the closures are causing some concern for downtown businesses.

It's been between 6 to 8 months that construction in East Lansing has really been underway and Mayor Mark Meadows says with the lack of MSU college students during the summer and all of the road closures and detour signs throughout the city, he understands why people and especially business owners are frustrated.

Danny Aybar, an employee at "Ink & Needle East" says in the past 3 years they've had steady growth, but this construction has been catastrophic to their business and he's not alone.

Because of that, Mayor Meadows says the city wants to help ease some of the stress.

He says there's free parking in various spots throughout the area and he says the city is thinking about creating a "payment plan" for businesses when it comes to their annual license fees.

These fees allow businesses to operate downtown and Meadows says sometimes they can be steep.

A "payment plan" doesn't mean the license fees would be eliminated entirely but he says breaking it up will help so it doesn't affect the business all at one time.

“We want to keep trying to adjust and bring in new ways of assisting business during this time period because we don't want anybody to fold up the tent in downtown East Lansing and move on,” said East Lansing Mayor Mark Meadows.

“I'm hoping that as the project goes that's it's not so debilitating you know as far as closing down the roads and access to the businesses so hopefully once they get a lot of that under control it won't be so bad, but if it's this bad every summer you know if it wasn't for our business having three locations...it'd be hard to justify keeping this open all summer,” Aybar stated.

Throughout all the one-lane closures and detour signs, Mayor Meadows says all the projects happening right now are moving at a steady pace, but don't plan on wrapping up for another 3 to 4 years at least.


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