There is always a price to pay for progress, whether it’s the $1.9 million that the city of Maryville spends for ongoing improvements to its downtown parking area or the loss of revenue by businesses affected during the related construction.
To offset the negative impact — to be sure, there is some — Broadway restaurants Barley’s Taproom Pizzeria and Sullivan’s Fine Foods cooked up an idea to shuttle customers to and from their vehicles parked outside the construction area. That’s being proactive and worthy of praise.
There now are no parking spaces available on the upper level of the municipal garage next to Barley’s, and just two on-street spaces west of the restaurants. Off-street parking is available at the Church Avenue entrance to the municipal garage and at a Sullivan’s lot accessible from Broadway, also west of the restaurants.
Still, that means customers who don’t want to walk could decide to eat elsewhere. Now the Barley’s-Sullivan’s shuttle makes it easier on both potential diners and also in covering overhead at the two popular eateries.
The entire improvement project will not be completed until May 2019, meaning downtown patrons can expect intermittent inconveniences, not only with parking, but also dealing with traffic issues.
History everywhere tells us some businesses might not survive construction interruptions of this magnitude. Perhaps the city of Maryville should consider adding its own shuttle to ease the pain of all downtown merchants — taking a page from the Barley’s-Sullivan’s menu.