Business owners along South Limestone reported mixed results on the first day the downtown Lexington street was closed for reconstruction.
"We actually had a really good day. We had a lot of people say they wanted to come down and support us," said Beth Hanna, owner of Hanna's on Lime restaurant, a vocal critic of how the city has disseminated information about the closing.
Hanna was encouraged when a number of regular customers and friends stopped to eat. Also, two construction workers came in for burgers. "We're counting on that business," Hanna said of the road crews.
That positive experience was not shared by all business owners along the street.
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"This is probably the slowest weekday I can remember in forever," said Bhavesh Patel, owner of the Subway on South Limestone near Avenue of Champions.
City officials have told businesses that local access will be allowed for deliveries, but two trucks headed to the Soundbar lounge at 208 South Limestone were turned back Wednesday morning. Both had to take circuitous routes "to even get close to us," said David Jones, one of Soundbar's owners.
Two business owners are going on the offensive to try to boost business.
Ryan Veith, owner of the Pita Pit, said the idea came to him on Wednesday of obtaining a vendor's license so he can make sandwiches in the shop, then sell them from a cart on Main Street. Because officials have said they want to help businesses on Limestone survive, Veith will ask the city to pay for the license fee, about $500.
Stephanie Zaglul, owner of Zag's Boutique and Gallery, has planned an event from 6 to 9 p.m. on Aug. 8 with live music and artists making jewelry.
During the early-morning commute, traffic flowed steadily as drivers used detours to avoid the work taking place on South Limestone from the Avenue of Champions to Vine Street.
That area will be closed to commuters for several months but will be available for emergency and delivery vehicles and the vehicles of residents and employees of businesses in the area. Sidewalks will remain open for pedestrians.
Mayor Jim Newberry said morning rush hour "went far better than any of us had hoped."
Cross streets, Maxwell and High, were open Wednesday. The streets will remain open during most of the construction, said project coordinator George Milligan.
The makeover of South Limestone will include repairing and replacing storm and sanitary sewers, burying utility lines and installing wider sidewalks, rain gardens, street trees and bike lanes.