Many of these local establishments don't even have a front parking lot right now.
As the traffic is forced to slow to a 25 mph crawl both northbound on A1A and southbound on South Central, those of us who live here are mildly inconvenienced by both the speed and the more frequent stop signs. But those folks who are trying to eek out a living as small business owners are faced with much more dire circumstances.
The construction on the highway and subsequent diversion of southbound traffic between South Ninth and South 23rd streets has resulted in as much as a 50% drop in business for some of these restaurants and shops.
Many of these local establishments, like Sunny Nails, Kool Beanz Coffee and Beach Belly Bob's, for example, don't even have a front parking lot right now. A visit to The Net by George for a recent dinner proved that the building is virtually invisible to the public due to a massive pile of large black drainage pipes blocking the view of the restaurant. Considering the pipes could have been laid just a few yards to the north and only block a parking area instead of the restaurant's front door and windows seems especially cruel.
We are beginning to enter our busy tourist season, with Memorial Day and the unofficial start of summer just a few weeks away. Those who are unfamiliar with Flagler Beach might not realize that there are entrances to all of these establishments either on South Central Avenue or on the adjacent side streets. Yes, there are street signs on Central indicating the locations of these businesses, but those are small compensation for the spur of the moment stops that occur from tourists looking for a bite to eat.
It is a given that the construction will be around for some time. Hopefully the incentives being offered the workers to finish early will get this mess cleaned up as quickly as possible. But in the meantime, these businesses are hurting and they desperately need local support. They are part of the charm that makes Flagler Beach a wonderful place to visit, eat and shop. I urge all Flagler County residents (and their visitors!) to please ignore the construction and come down to the beach to patronize these businesses. These are our neighbors, and right now they need our support. Thank you.