Local Restaurant Claims Construction Has Deterred Business

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RENO, NV - If you're a commuter, there's no doubt construction can be a major headache. Some businesses in the thick of it say they're the ones paying the price. The owner of Opa Café on Second Street says construction is ruining his business.

Construction on Second Street has closed off eastbound traffic near Renown Medical Center and will remain this way for the next month or so. It may seem like a quick turn-around for regular commuters, but for Steve Dimitriadis, he says it's like a death sentence for his business.

"I had to drive two times around and then to Kietzke and go from there. I'm the owner and I really had to get here," Dimitriadis said.

It's not the easiest way to get to work, but Dimitriadis says this is exactly why people aren't coming to his restaurant anymore.

"Our customers are afraid to come when they see construction; they stay away and it affects our business immensely.

He says it's not the first time construction has affected his business. In March, the city of Reno closed off Kietzke Lane and East Second Street, right behind his cafe, for a sewer rehabilitation project; he claims he lost about $20,000 in those three months of construction.

"We struggled, we depleted our savings and now Regional Transportation Commission is doing construction again and it's closing us," he added.

He claims RTC hasn't been cooperative and now he wants compensation.

"Shame to RTC. It's not taking care of the small businesses in Reno," he said

RTC says it doesn't have the funds to reimburse him, but that it has been urging people not to be discouraged by the orange cones.

"There's a lot of damage out here. The road was identified through the pavement index as one that really needed some attention so after this project, all of those issues will be addressed," said Joe Harrington, a spokesman for RTC.

The project will also be repairing gaps in the sidewalks, which RTC says will actually save businesses in the long run.

"It will benefit them because this will make it more accessible for pedestrians in the long range," said Harrington.

When drivers commute down Second Street, they'll see signs and flaggers directing them to the businesses in the plaza. RTC says its construction is on schedule and will likely be finished before October, which is when it was slated to be completed.