City money not available for Ballard businesses hurt by Market St. construction

VIDEO: Business impacted by construction

Sara Pignolet's Market Street Ballard business, Le Merde, is currently surrounded by orange cones and no parking signs.

"It's completely dusty and it sounds like giants getting their teeth drilled," said Pignolet. "It's really hard."

The construction started several months ago to improve NW Market Street and other nearby roads. Sara says it's done the opposite for business.

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"It's definitely cut it," said Pignolet. "This is our prime season because of tourism; people are walking, we've got the sun and everything finally, and you know, it's harder to get around in this area."

KIRO 7 spoke with other store operators who are also feeling the pinch, despite signs placed in the area directing potential shoppers to stores that are still open during construction, which is expected to continue into 2020.

"We've talked about compensation from the city," said Pignolet. "That would be awesome."

KIRO 7 reported back in 2016 about small business owners in the Central District who received $25,000 checks from the city because construction there hurt sales.

We reached out to the Seattle Office of Economic Development and a spokesperson said the money given in 2016 came from a pot that no longer exists – so Ballard businesses will not be compensated during the Market Street construction project.

Charles Steele, a shopper who stopped by a nearby business that still offers parking, said construction hasn't been as bad as he anticipated but wouldn't recommend unnecessary trips to the area.

"It is definitely something you're going to avoid if you have a choice," said Steele.

Despite not offering compensation for the Market Street businesses, the Office of Economic Development said staff has been in touch with a Ballard business owner to bring their concerns to the Seattle Department of Transportation. A member of its Small Business Development Team works as a liaison between businesses and SDOT regarding current and future projects to advocate for them during construction.

Business owners can contact AJ Cari at Aj.Cari@Seattle.gov or 206-684-0133 to learn more.

"They're only on that side of the street right now," said Pignolet. "When it comes to this side - it's going to be multiplied."

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