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Construction Plans Upset Detroit Lakes Shop Owners - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Construction Plans Upset Detroit Lakes Shop Owners

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Four businesses in downtown Detroit Lakes will be picking up the bill for parts of a reconstruction project on Washington Avenue.

While the street is torn up for reconstruction, the city is hoping to fill in areas of the businesses' basements that project under the sidewalks.

Price's Fine Jewelry has called their building on Washington Avenue home for 70 years, but after 98 years of the building's existence and the construction on the way, the city has decided part of their basement is encroaching on public ground.

"Well this is the area that has been in contention with the city here in the last couple of months," says Price's Fine Jewelry Owner Roger Price, gesturing to the basement ceiling. "They are going to have to redo the sidewalk, which is above our ceiling here," he says.

The city is asking that these businesses fill in these storage areas and build an interior wall...at their expense. 

"We are giving up something and have to pay for it...and it just doesn't feel right," says Price.

The city says this reconstruction project has been in the works for about 5 years and filling in the underground areas at the same time will improve the safety of public sidewalks up above.

"If there's a failure in the sidewalk or if there's a failure of some kind, it could potentially lead to someone getting injured, someone getting hurt," says Detroit Lakes City Administrator Bob Louiseau.

They say Minnesota State Law makes the businesses responsible for what falls in a public area.

"If I have a building or I have any part of a building or structure or any improvement that's on someone else's property, it's my responsibility to remove that," he says.

Price says a neighboring business was quoted at $15,000 for the work.

"In this day and age, that's a lot of money for any business owner," he says.

City leaders say they are trying their best to work with all business owners and are trying to meet with them individually to hear their plans.

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