West Union Street will be under construction for a while longer as the sidewalk enhancement project takes place.

Athens Mayor Steve Patterson said the city hopes construction on the south side of the street, where work is being done, will be completed by May 1. Patterson said the construction is "rolling," which means when work on the current side is completed, work will begin on the other half of the sidewalk.

The project will remove the curb and part of the sidewalk and replace it with brick from the demolished President Street Academic Center building, Patterson said. When the construction is done, the sidewalk will extend four feet into the current street.

The construction began April 4 but was delayed when workers had to place a new structural slab over the top of the basement of the building that houses Follett's University Bookstore, Richard Mora, the site foreman, said.

Mikayla Cornell, who works at Uptown Grill, 11. W. Union St., said the construction has not affected the business.

On the other hand, Mary Cheadle, the owner of Uptown Dog T-Shirts, 9 W. Union St., said her business is struggling because of the construction.

"I'm behind construction, I'm behind their vehicles, you can't even see my business," Cheadle said. "These last weeks of school are how (Uptown Dog) survives summer. So now we have to go into summer — which is hard to survive anyway financially — not having those sales we would have had."

Cheadle estimated sales at the clothing store are down at least 70 percent in April.

"We begged for (construction to begin) after students left because (the business) would be less affected," Cheadle said.

Cheadle said she believes she has grounds for a lawsuit.

Deputy City Service Safety Director Ron Lucas did not respond to multiple requests for comment about why construction could not have been pushed back or how long the sidewalk will remain closed.

@thenextbigming

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