TAMPA, Fla. — For Ozzie Oliveira, Tuesday ought to have been an excellent day.
He was poised to make a sale at his used automobile lot — Prepared 2 Go Motors — on North Florida Avenue in South Seminole Heights.
As a substitute, when he turned the nook to his small enterprise Tuesday morning, he was greeted with a well-known, irritating sight.
A development crew had dug up West Crest Avenue to the purpose Oliveira couldn’t entry his enterprise’ principal entrance.
“It seems to be like a bomb went off,” he stated.
The work is a part of the Metropolis of Tampa’s Southeast Seminole Heights Flooding Aid Challenge. Town and its contractor, Nelson Development, are putting in new infrastructure all through the neighborhood in an effort to scale back flooding within the space. The work is impacting streets like North Florida Avenue, West Crest Avenue, North Central Avenue, and East Caracas.
Folks like Oliveira really feel the venture, which began in late 2021, is taking too lengthy after a number of delays and is majorly disruptive to each owners and enterprise homeowners.
Oliveira, as an illustration, stated his gross sales have dropped considerably because the work started. In a earlier interview, he stated he is perhaps compelled to shut after dropping nearly 80% of his enterprise.
Most irritating to Oliveira has been what he perceives as an absence of high quality communication in regards to the venture and its progress from town and its companions. Tuesday, he bought no superior warning earlier than the inconvenience that impacted his enterprise.
“Not one telephone name,” he stated. “Not one e-mail. No textual content. No nothing. Nothing.”
Annoyed by the disruption, Oliveira informed his potential buyer to return Wednesday.
That’s troubling to Tampa Councilman Guido Maniscalco.
“They’ve overhead. They’ve staff. They’ve hire. They’ve the electrical cost to pay. These payments don’t cease, however while you impede a enterprise, their enterprise stops,” he stated. “The payments maintain coming due, however the enterprise isn’t coming in as a result of folks both can’t entry the enterprise or they assume it’s closed, and that’s not proper.”
The councilman stated despite the fact that the venture staff is reachable and accessible every time he has reached out, he thinks the staff ought to begin over-communicating with neighbors and enterprise homeowners like Oliveira.
Maniscalco additionally believes it is perhaps time to convey the venture staff earlier than Metropolis Council — because it did equally final 12 months — to carry its ft to the hearth on delays, disruptions, and different points.
“So long as I maintain getting complaints — which they’re coming in frequently — if not every single day, each different day — we need to be responsive,” he stated. “And if it takes welcoming and bringing the contractors to Metropolis Council once more, that’s wonderful.”
Councilwoman Lynn Hurtak agrees.
“We maintain asking for improved communication. It occurs for a short time after which disappears once more,” she wrote partially. “It shouldn’t take a enterprise proprietor/resident calling me who calls the division head who calls the corporate. With this venture, there isn’t any such factor as over-communication.”
When requested in regards to the Tuesday disruption at Oliveira’s automobile lot, a spokesperson for the venture stated that despite the fact that this enterprise’s principal entrance was blocked for a number of hours, one other gate was not. Because of this, Oliveira was not notified.
Oliveira, although, takes difficulty with that assertion. He despatched ABC Motion Information a screenshot that he stated exhibits even that gate was onerous for purchasers to entry due to the energetic development and a big mound of filth positioned close to that alternate entry level.
No matter what occurred Tuesday, the venture spokesperson stated communication shall be improved.
“They’ll make sure you notify the enterprise if any entrance is affected when curb and asphalt are put in within the coming weeks,” the spokesperson wrote. “And as all the time, enterprise homeowners and residents who’ve a priority like this may name the hotline for help: 813-580-5313.”
As for the venture as a complete, in line with the venture’s web site, development is slated to finish in late 2024.
Final week, ABC Motion Information despatched town a listing of questions regarding current delays, up to date timelines, and the way injury to sidewalks and driveways shall be repaired. To see the venture staff’s solutions, click on right here.
Moreover, neighbors and enterprise homeowners are inspired to maintain tabs on the newest venture alerts at this hyperlink.
Companies that imagine they’ve suffered monetary losses due to the work can study extra about submitting a declare at this hyperlink.