Court Avenue Businesses Can’t Wait to Get Back to Normal

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DES MOINES, Iowa -- On Tuesday morning the water main break on 4th and Court Avene burst again, this time spewing sand and dirt into the street.

“Oh it's just been a mess, water everywhere, sand everywhere, dirt everywhere” said Riva Walters, Owner of Dapper DSM.

The break is just the latest in a long stretch of construction and closures for Court Avenue, and businesses are just excited for things to get back to normal.

Walters says the water main breaks have prevented her from offering everything a customer should get at her barber shop.

“We can’t do shampoos because of the water and because we can’t do our laundry, so people aren't getting the complete service that they usually do” she said.

Walters opened the barber shop on 4th and Court a year and a half ago, she says with all the construction that's been going on, it's been harder to get eyes on her storefront.

“It's definitely impacted foot traffic. Luckily, we're pretty much appointment based so it doesn't affect us as much as it would a restaurant or a bar or something like that” said Walter.

Jessica Dunker, CEO of the Iowa restaurant Association, says the last year has been a perfect storm for Court Avenue establishments

“We've had a lot of changes in parking, in construction, in structures up, structures down, street closures. Infrastructure that will ultimately help everyone downtown can really mess up a business” she said.

Dunker says the restaurants are trying other ways to bring in customers while the convenience factor temporarily takes a hit.

“You are seeing some more discounted prices, you are seeing specials you normally wouldn't see, you are seeing that people are reaching out and advertising in different kinds of places and stretching their resources thinner and thinner as a result” said Dunker.

Dunker says even when construction wraps up Court Ave. could feel a residual impact.

“If the first thought that comes to mind is ‘it's difficult to get there, difficult to park, difficult to walk to’, then it's hard to re-earn that business even though we aren't the industry that's made it go away. We're anxious to have everything to be done, to be sparkly new, we're excited about that, it can’t come fast enough” said Dunker.

The construction isn't affecting every industry. Hubbell Realty says their apartments in the Court Avenue District are at 95% occupancy.

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