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Business back as E'town revitalization takes Christmas break

READ MORE: Business back as E'town revitalization takes Christmas break
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ELIZABETHTOWN, NC (WWAY) -- Christmastime is always important for businesses. That's why shop owners in Bladen County are glad their town put a hold on its revitalization project until the holidays are over.

Shoppers are coming back steadily. Last month stores in downtown Elizabethtown experienced a slump in early holiday sales, which they blame on the a downtown revitalization project construction.

"We had four five bull-dozers at a time. (Customers) couldn't really get to our store, and it was really inconvenient," business owner Ricky Leinwand said. "People really had to want to come to shop at Leinwand's. We were off by 25 percent, but we're making it up as the time goes."

Stores are making it up with help from the town. In november business owners and the Elizabethtown-White Lake Chamber of Commerce expressed their concerns with the already sluggish project. They said the lack of parking and the mess outside kept customers from coming inside.

"When you go into a project such as what the town's been doing with the renovation project, you go into the unknown and the unexpected," the Chamber's Dawn Maynard said. "We definitely could not let this project continue and take away from the parking and opportunity for these store to benefit during the busiest shopping time of the year."

The project was scheduled to be done by Thanksgiving, but the construction revealed some problems with infrastructure, like old pipes that had to be replaced. Though the project has been put on hold, town leaders plan on continuing construction January 3. As for store owners they're just glad the town was willing to pause the project to let them thrive.

Elizabethtown's revitalization is expected to take two more months once work resumes.

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Revitalization or Desecration?

Certain Elizabethtown officials were hell-bent on widening Broad Street. So they have cut all the old, big oaks down on what used to be a beautiful street to make way for the "revitalization."

Drive through E-town and see how Broad Street looks now, compared to the way it used to look.

And what have the leaders in mind for landscaping? Do they plan to plant the same old weed trees--Bradford Pear, for example--and the same old generic shrubs you see everywhere you go? Most likely this is what they have in mind.

I am waiting to see how this "revitalization" is going to improve the town's looks. I will be surprised if there is any improvement at all.

According to the store owndrs I've talked to, they wish there had never been an attempt at revitalization, and they think it's a scandalous waste of money that has hindered potential customers from walking our streets and shopping in our businesses.