KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Businesses along Kansas City, Missouri’s, Main Street are navigating construction work related to improvements to the city’s water system.
Infrastructure and transit improvements near 43rd and Main are part of the final phase of sewer work for the city's Upgrades on Main project.
These improvements, which the city notes have been needed for quite some time, are necessary before the streetcar is in due to the difficulty of resolving issues below the surface once track work is complete.
"All of this will be done in 2025. We are doing it in sections. You will see towards Union Station, we are already cleared out of that area of those spots there. It's going to be a couple of months in each little section here, and then it will be clear," said Kansas City, Missouri, City Manager Brian Platt.
Laura Norris, Ragazza Food & Wine owner, can see the sewer work right outside her restaurant's window at 4301 Main Street.
She says the heavy construction has contributed to a five to 10 percent loss of business. While she notes the percentage could be worse, lost business is challenging nonetheless while navigating increased food prices and labor costs.
"We have 44th Street shut off; We have 43rd in both directions shut off; We have 42nd Street shut off," Norris said. "It makes it extremely difficult for us to be on this island and trying to serve people. This is what it takes. It's very difficult to do deliveries or people that do curbside pick-ups from here."
Platt says he understands why businesses are upset. He went down to the restaurant on Wednesday to see the construction firsthand.
"We are doing what we can to minimize the traffic impacts," Platt said. "We want everyone to come out and support these amazing businesses along Main Street. They are doing great; They are hanging in there. We are trying to get rid of all these headaches that would be going on for years, in a very small period of time. It's a lot of coordination right now."
In the meantime, Platt says the city is "working on ways to minimize closures and disruptions as much as possible".
Norris hopes community members will not let construction keep them from supporting small businesses along Main Street.
"I hope they would take a little extra effort to look up where to park, to know it's going to be a little bit tricky. Take the other streets as long as you can, basically, and come find us," Norris said.
KC Streetcar track work is in progress near Pershing and 31st Street. A full extension timeline is included below: