Major downtown project in Haines City threatens business
HAINES CITY – Lori Booher can’t wait for the new City Hall and Public Library to open downtown – before she is forced out of business.
“I hope the new City Hall and library revitalizes downtown,” she said. “Hopefully, we’ll become a downtown Kissimmee or Mt. Dora. I think we have a lot to offer.”
When the project is finished in November, she’ll also be happy to see all the construction crews be on their merry way.
On March 3, she opened Attic Treasures, a consignment shop, at 105 N. Seventh St., right across the street from where, unbeknownst to her, the new City Hall and the Public Library would be built.
Three weeks later, that stretch of Seventh Street was closed for construction.
She said she would have appreciated knowing sooner that the street in front of her business was going to be closed for that long before she had applied for her business license in February.
Callihan said he had talked with Booher about the street closures after she’d already rented the building but hadn’t opened her store. He said the license would have come through the city’s Building Department.
“I could have made a more informed decision had I known,” she said. “But I can’t run a business with no money coming in.”
Richard Greenwood, the department director, said Tuesday the Building Department does not have a written policy about telling applicants about upcoming construction because it hasn’t been a problem before.
He said that staff had told him via email that either Booher or her partner were told about the construction and road closure during an inspection of her store.