Businesses Still Struggling After Water Main Break

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DES MOINES, Iowa-- Days after the water main break on Fourth Street happened, it’s still a constant headache for businesses.

According to Des Moines Water Works, the boil order for that area has been lifted.

Vaudeville Mews canceled concerts last Saturday, but is back open now.

“It was concerning being so close to our building. I mean it’s just a few feet out of our front door that the street has collapsed. So we are lucky that it didn’t move any closer and actually damage the building in that way,” General Manager of Vaudeville Mews Derek Muse Lambert said.

Sidewalks are open, but the road is still closed.

“I mean Saturday nights are one of our best nights. So it definitely hurts to lose one of those and I’m sure having the road closed is also scaring people off, even though we are open now. You have to kind of walk down the street and a lot of people may not realize that,” Lambert said.

The water has also been questionable for the last few days; a necessary amenity for almost every business on the street.

“It makes it kind of interesting running a bar. We can’t serve any of that. All canned beverages, mixers, pre-packaged ice and all of that stuff,” Lambert said.

The owner of The Copper Cup, Eric Hartung, said they probably won’t be able to re-open for six weeks because they’ve lost almost everything.

“I mean the walls to the floor had to be ripped out. A lot of our coolers are sabotaged. I mean the bathrooms need to be completely redone. Just about everything needs to be redone,” Hartung said.

Hartung said four feet of water wreaked havoc on the bar and Des Moines Water Works stepped up to take care of the repairs, but he’s worried this might happen again.

“It is a little concerning because this happened a year ago and I mean it wasn’t to this magnitude and not enough water came in, but this just happened a year ago. And I think it happened four years before that. This is one of the oldest downtown streets, I believe, as far as commercial buildings. And it is a little nervous. I mean they repaved it last year but who knows what’s going on underneath there,” Hartung said.

Hartung said most of his employees are able to work for other bars in the area temporarily during repairs.

He said this issue isn't going to force them to relocate and he's confident loyal customers will come back once they re-open.


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