Often, public works projets can toss a monkey wrench into the working of local businesses, along with creating frustrating traffic jams.
For retailers, it can result in a drop in profits and in turn, cause business owners to reduce staff.
What can be done to help affected businesses? One idea is to form a construction mitigation program (CMP). Designed by cities to help businesses through the public construction process, CMPs, unfortunately are fairly rare.
A well-documented study was done in 2010 at the University of Wisconsin-Madison when researchers surveyed several U.S. cities about their CMPs. All of the 33 responding cities said that they took minimal measures to help businesses impacted by construction. Before projects began, nearly all of them conducted community awareness campaigns and about half of them provided liaisons for negotiation between contractors and the affected businesses.
Researchers found that such programs could be effective and would improve under greater evaluation. A first step for local officials could be to establish baseline provisions and bring some structure to the process, thereby helping improve a city’s business climate and providing owners with key information about projects, while giving them a place to communicate any concerns.
CMPs can go a long way toward improving relations between contractors and business owners, helping them to continue to operate profitably, as well as easing commuter concerns.
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