Construction on busy stretch of Court Street in Flint disrupts businesses

Owner of Leo’s Coney Island adjusted the back parking lot to add a new entrance for customers and employees
Published: Apr. 16, 2021 at 7:34 PM EDT
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FLINT, Mich. (WJRT) - Business owners along Court Street in Flint between Dort Highway and Center Road were not exactly thrilled to see construction crews tearing up the road.

It’s part of a project that began Monday to repave the stretch of road and install a new water main between now and September. That means lane closures and the potential for businesses to suffer because of it.

One business owner said the project only adds to an already difficult year.

“It’s another obstacle that’s out of our control, just like everything else that’s happened in the past year and a half,” said Stefan Harris who owns Leo’s Coney Island on Court Street just west of Center Road. “We can be upset about it, but that will take away from what makes this place so great is our attitudes here.”

Leo’s like other restaurants has been through a lot this last year with COVID-19 shutdowns, re-openings, mask mandates, capacity restrictions and now he has to deal with construction. Harris’ business and many others occupy the roughly 1-mile stretch where that work is underway.

Only the westbound lane along Court Street is open -- and that’s for business traffic only.

“I’m pleasantly surprised at how steady we’re staying, and that just shows that we have very determined customers,” Harris said.

He’s experienced construction happening right in front of the restaurant several times before.

“Every year there’s been something,” Harris said. “There’s a pipe underneath Court Street that cracked or broke, so one of the sewers was shooting up water.”

It’s a headache for his customers and employees having to figure out alternate ways of accessing the restaurant, but Harris said people will resort to any means to their Leo’s Coney Island fix. He’s helping them by making it easier to get in and out.

“I made some adjustments in the back of the parking lot and made a makeshift entrance back there,” Harris said. “I took away some parking spaces so no cars or anything would get hit.”

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