(June, 2010) Some have
called it the perfect storm against Emmitsburg
businesses. Begin with an economic crash that
caused people to think twice about the money
they spend. Add to that a town sewer and water
project that tore up the alleyways in
Emmitsburg, making it hard to avoid the
heavier-trafficked main roads. Finally, close
off a portion of one of the townís main roads.
What do you have?
Long lines of
frustrated drivers who just want to get
through town but canít figure out a route that
is open or not jammed with cars. Other people
just find ways to avoid the town altogether.
Either way, it means potential business
customers are taking their spending dollars
elsewhere at a time when itís harder for
businesses to find those dollars.
"In this economy in my
opinion, where the recovery is still fragile,
this is one more detriment to business," said
Bob Hance, owner of the Carriage House Inn and
Redís Tavern and president of the Emmitsburg
Professional and Building Association.
He said that with all
of the high school graduations at the Knott
Arena in May, the Carriage House Inn typically
gets a lot of business from families who come
into the area from other locations. It didnít
happen as much this year. Hance credits part
of the problem to the sign on Route 15 North
that tells drivers South Seton is closed at
"These people donít
know how far up Main Street is and whether
they can get to the businesses or not so they
go somewhere else," Hance said.
owner of Fitzgeraldís Auto and Cycle Service,
says he runs into traffic problems in town all
the time when he is going out to tow a car,
provide a jump start or take a customer home.
He has tried to go out North Seton Avenue to
Route 15 South when he can, but even that has
created some problems if he actually needs to
Dee Connolly owns
Antique Folly on East Main and her property
backs up to Lincoln Avenue. There have been
times when she and her husband were blocked in
and could not get out of their driveway.
"Nobody informed us
when the work would be done," Connolly said.
She said when she
called the town office, she was told that she
needed to watch the town cable channel. When
she checked the channel, it said there would
be intermittent closures of the alley, which
did nothing to tell he when she would be able
to get out of her driveway or not.
She also noted that a
lot of her business walks over from the
Antique Mall. That canít happen now because of
all the work being done on and traffic on
Hance wonders why the
alley work isnít being done on a graveyard
shift to keep it open when people are using
"The town should be
doing everything possible to help businesses
in town," Hance said.
He points to the old
adage that "You only have one chance to make a
good first impression." He feels that right
now it isnít happening in Emmitsburg. Tourists
with money to spend come to town and see the
traffic problem and they wonít come back
because they donít want to have to deal with
As things stand now,
the closed section of South Seton Avenue wonít
be reopened to late June and the alley work
may be complete the middle of this month.
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