Sewer Project Hurting Sparks Businesses

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If you've been avoiding Sparks Boulevard lately, you're not alone.

Several nearby business owners say the gridlock created by the city's sewer project, is keeping customers away.

A spokesman for the City of Sparks says the area should be clear by the end of next month, but business owners like Ben Larson from Ben & Jerry's say that's not soon enough and the damage has already been done.

"Looking at the microcosm that's just Sparks, our numbers are off solely as a result of the construction on Sparks Boulevard," says Larson.

The $13 million sewer project broke ground outside his business in May, which is the beginning of Larson's busiest season.

Sparks spokesman Adam Mayberry says the city has been doing its best to remind customers nearby businesses are open, despite the chaos on the roads.

"We wanted to make sure we keep (these) businesses in the forefront of our residents," says Mayberry.

The city has started putting ads in the Reno Gazette Journal to help promote commerce in the area. But Sara Collins who manages Great Clips next door to Ben & Jerry's says it's too little to late.

"Recently they've helped out, but before, not so much."

Collins says the construction has been especially difficult to deal with because she didn't have enough time to prepare. But Mayberry says the city gave flyers to each of the affected businesses, warning them about the negative impacts and the city is trying its best to improve traffic flow in the area.

"We recognize the challenge and we're doing all we can to the extent that we can"