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Construction project on the Broad Ripple is harming businesses



Indianapolis, Indiana – Companies in Broad Ripple informed that they are suffering significant financial losses as a result of ongoing road construction that was meant to be completed a long time ago.

As contractors worked on the project on Thursday, the air in Broad Ripple was filled with steam and the smell of fresh asphalt.

Union Jack Pub owner Chelsey Wetzel said that the construction has hurt their company more than the pandemic.

“We’ve lost as much as 70% some of these months, which our worst COVID month only saw us down 25-30%. COVID couldn’t have dreamt to have done to us what this project has done,” said Wetzel.

The city informed Wetzel’s firm and others in Broad Ripple that the project would cause a major disturbance to the region for 135 days.

“There was an expectation that it would go over 135 days, in terms of disruption, but not on any level to the degree that we’re at. 577 days,” said Wetzel.

Union Jack relied heavily on the first estimate of 135 days of disruption when making significant business decisions.

“We purchased a building across the street from our original location. We thought, ‘keep the longevity of Union Jack and invest in the village,’ and I think looking back, we would have made a very different decision and walked away rather than try and weather and lose our entire life savings, which is what’s happened. Well into six figures,” said Wetzel.

According to the Department of Public Works, unforeseen issues caused the project to go far more slowly than expected. Before the above-ground paving project could proceed, problems with subterranean utilities had to be resolved. There are other projects in Broad Ripple that have encountered difficulties due to utility issues.

Wetzel is dissatisfied with the city’s communication of difficulties and project delays.

“In a dream world, I’d like to see compensation for what I’ve lost. Secondarily, I’d like to see better effort in Broad Ripple village by way of grants and support in terms of lighting, cleanups, and the crime issues, and some different things that we’ve dealt with, and just better support, ordinances, rules, and enforceable things that we can help grow and recover from this,” said Wetzel.

The City of Indianapolis said in a statement, “Throughout the Broad Ripple Improvements Project, Indy DPW has remained in close contact with local stakeholders like the BRVA, working to minimize disruption to residents and businesses to the extent possible. While construction means disruption, it also means progress – and the Broad Ripple neighborhood will soon benefit from $8 million of new pedestrian assets, beautification, and improved drainage systems that will reduce historic flooding. Indy DPW is only days away from completing the most disruptive elements of this project, and the City remains committed to working with BRVA and the neighborhood to improve quality of life for the Broad Ripple community.”

Even though Wetzel can see the end of the tunnel, she is unsure if her company will survive.

“We’ll see what spring brings, and if we don’t recover pretty quickly from this, it’s dark, and I think it’s dark for a lot of people,” said Wetzel.

The city stated that, with favorable weather, the project’s final touches should be done by Saturday.








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