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Pismo Plaza project breaks ground, businesses concerned about loss of parking

Posted at 6:35 PM, Nov 01, 2019

Construction fences are the newest addition to the Pismo Beach boardwalk.

It marks the construction site of the Pismo Plaza project, but the fences also block off nearly 125 parking spaces in the downtown area until May.

Some shop owners say it's going to hurt sales as the holidays approach.

"It's probably going to slow business down a bit because people are going to hear 'oh, there's no parking in 'Pismo, let's just go somewhere else,'" said Makena McGinley, Kraken Coffee Company manager.

Other new businesses like @The Pier Beer and Wine Shop were hoping for steady sales, but the six-month, $6 million project might stall that.

"Probably going to lose a few weeks during the beginning of the busy season, but hopefully it will increase business after, provided they finish on time," said Tyson Edson, @The Pier Beer and Wine Shop manager.

The city hopes to create an outdoor family room with new bathrooms, showers and a playground, but city leaders know it comes at a cost.

"We are sensitive to losing parking and the city is committed to building a parking structure in the future," said Jorge Garcia, Pismo Beach Management Services Director. "Right now, we know that parking loss is felt by the businesses which is why we are doing it in the off season."

The city will provide portable bathrooms but not showers and it's something many beach-goers hopped fences for Friday afternoon.

"How does that benefit the residents, visitors of Pismo Beach?" asked John Simenz, a Pismo Beach surfer. "It seems like they are being displaced and not considered in the city's decisions."

The temporarily loss of parking spots may be inconvenient, but many still say the final project will be worth it.

"Pismo needs a face-lift. Beautiful town, but it needs an update and I think it will draw in more crowds," McGinley said.

Businesses like Hotlix Candy say their sales have been down every day this week compared to last year.

The city says there is no plan to create temporary parking lots, but they hope people will be able to explore more areas of downtown in the meantime.

Businesses and the pier will be open to the public during construction. Demolition will start Monday.