Merchants uneasy over Mount Dora's Streetscape construction

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MOUNT DORA, Fla. - The dirt is flying again in Mount Dora’s historic shopping district as phase two of the city’s multi-million dollar Streetscape got underway Thursday.

The work is being done on Third Avenue from Dora Drawdy Way to Baker Street.

Underground utilities will be replaced with new streets and brick sidewalks going over the top.

Some merchants say they’re worried about how the construction may affect business.

“I think business is definitely going to go down. We live in the real world,” said merchant Akhtar Hussain.

During phase one of the project last year, some shoppers were chased away by the dirt and detours, and a flash flood added to the misery.

“I think there were certainly tough times during the summer, but I don’t think we actually lost any business,” said Mount Dora’s city planner, Mark Reggentin.

City leaders insist this time around, there are plans to funnel customers to the shops, and a marketing plan was launched to let shoppers know all of downtown Mount Dora will be open for business during construction.

“They need to have faith. They need to know the end of the tunnel is going to be beautiful,” said merchant Karen Riscinto.

Leaders said phase two of Streetscape will be finished by early October.