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WDAY: The News Leader

Published September 10, 2012, 09:38 PM

Small business owners upset over possible road construction

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - A stretch of small business owners in Fargo say they could be wiped off the map if a road widening project on University Drive goes through.

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - A stretch of small business owners in Fargo say they could be wiped off the map if a road widening project on University Drive goes through.

The plan is to add an extra southbound lane. Those owners say there's a better option for everyone than what's planned.

These business owners oppose the project because it cuts into this -- a fifth of the parking spots would be gone -- and that's a big number for a place already squeezed on parking.

Here's why the city is adamant on adding a lane on South University. 5:30 everyday this is the scene, traffic backed up for blocks.

A 2010 traffic study on South U shows 24,600 cars pass by the 17th avenue intersection every day.

Head 30 blocks straight west to 45th. A road with 2 more lanes and it handles fewer vehicles

But is it worth spending $2 million on a project and possibly put out several small businesses?

Jay Thomas, The Jay Thomas Show: "Seems to me that Fargo is becoming very small business unfriendly."

Owner of Duanes Pizza Steve Shultz stopped by the Jay Thomas show today. He says if the current plan goes through, he and several other businesses go under.

He's asking the city to take space from the boulevard across the street.

Steve Schultz, Owner of Duaneā€™s House of Pizza: "They said they wanted it more aligned and user friendly and I asked them ok you guys designed 45th street, you've driven down that -- every 2 blocks it'll jog over."

Todd Kurtz: "If this goes through as planned right now what do you see those 2 shopping centers look like 10 years from now?"

Schultz: "Downtown Moorhead."

Kurtz: "Blank -- Empty?"

Schultz: "Empty."

Schultz and other owners had private meetings with city officials. The first public one comes in late October and Schultz says it will be heated.

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