BRIARCLIFF MANOR, N.Y. In the midst of construction vehicles and an above-ground temporary sewage line, downtown Briarcliff businesses are still planning on having a First Thursday street festival from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday.
"There's a huge pipe running past the hardware store on Pleasantville Road and there are cones in parking spots to prevent you from knocking into a pole. It feels like we're in a construction zone," said Megan David, the owner of Wake Robin home furnishing and gift shop on Pleasantville Road. "But we're doing it in spite of everything around us. We hope people come out as they have in the past."
First Thursday street festivals, organized by the Briarcliff Manor Chamber of Commerce, have been taking place the first Thursday of every month since May. This month's festival theme is "Let Us Entertain You," and it will feature three high school students singing show tunes accompanied by a portable keyboard.
"It's really really sweet. I just hope we have an audience for them," David said.
The heavy construction downtown began Oct. 24 to repair a large hole on North State Road that developed during Hurricane Irene in August. The repairs, estimated to cost $865,000, are being funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Downtown merchants say they have lost significant business from the closing of the 500-foot stretch of North State Road that connects Route 9A with Pleasantville Road.
"The fact that it's being done right now during the holiday season means we're all going to hurt majorly, and some of us might not survive, myself included," David said.
Requests by merchants to have two traffic lights put in to allow left-hand turns from Route 9A onto Pleasantville Road and from Chappaqua Road to Pleasantville Road in order to allow easier access to downtown, were denied by county Department of Transportation engineers due to "lack of sight distance," village Manager Philip Zegarelli said in a press release.
The village is planning on putting in more "user friendly" detour signs to direct people towards the business district, Zegarelli said.
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