Construction woes impacting businesses on Brighton Blvd.; doggy daycare forced to close

City says it's doing everything it can

DENVER -- Businesses on Brighton Boulevard say they're struggling to keep their doors up a year and half into a major construction project aimed at transforming their RiNo neighborhood.

"I'd describe it as a mess," said owner of Comida Mexican restaurant, Rayme Rossello. "In addition to it already being a you-know-what out there, we have to shut down because there's no gas coming to the building, or the water line gets shut down, or the entrance."

The city of Denver is transforming Brighton Blvd. from 29th to 44th into two lanes in each direction, with sidewalks and a protected bike lane.

But Rossello said ever since the work zone signs went up, sales at her restaurant are down 40 percent.

"Almost a million dollars in sales, it's real money," she said. "It means that I have borrowed money from friends and family to make payroll. It means sleepless nights."

Down the street, Mile High Mutts announced it's closing on Feb. 23.

A post on the company's website says, "After 16 years, we are closing Mile High Mutts due to the changing nature of the neighborhood and all of its current and future construction."

"I can absolutely understand the frustration that business would have. I'm sympathetic to it, as is the city," said executive director of the North Denver Cornerstone Collaborative Tim Sandos.

Sandos works under the office of the mayor and oversees projects in this part of the city.

"During any kind of construction there's going to be closures, there's going to be hardships and unintended consequences. And we have worked to respond to those immediately," Sandos said.

"The biggest problem is it's gone on at least six months longer than was assumed," said the developer behind The Source, Kyle Zeppelin.

Zeppelin said they were told the cones would be gone last September. The city blames a delay in the start time for why it's taking longer and maintains the project is on time and on budget.

Everyone agrees it's going to be great when it's done.

"We appreciate that you're making it bigger and better, making it bigger and better, faster," Rossello said.

This is not a fight against construction, but a fight for survival because only those who can weather the storm can reap any of the benefits of the new and improved Brighton Blvd.

"We are one day at a time, skin on my teeth," Rossello said.

The city said it hopes to have the project complete by June 2018.

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