TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WIAT) — A major Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) road construction project in downtown Tuscaloosa continues to cause headaches for some businesses and motorists.
Josh Giambalvo says as a result of the constant construction, he’s lost more than a quarter of a million dollars in business. He and his wife own Frutta Bowls located at Lurleen Wallace and University Boulevard. Because he is losing so much money, Giambalvo decided to close his business.
“It’s our baby and it’s our first big business we started so its frustrating and sad for the people,” Giambalvo said. “We weren’t able to stay afloat in this location in all this construction and continue to dump money in this. I think it was a good decision for us to close.”
For many months, the street where the business is located has been blocked off to allow crews from ALDOT to install new storm sewers and internet cable lines. The work is expected to be finished in January 2020.
“This just hurts to close the doors but I really don’t have the money or business to float it here at this store,” Giambalvo said.
Giambalvo is hoping to keep all 15 of his employees. He also owns another Frutta Bowls store in Midtown Tuscaloosa and plans to open another location in Downtown Birmingham in two months. City officials are trying to work with businesses that have been affected by the construction work. The mitigation program offers sales tax breaks and other incentives.
“I am thankful there is a willingness to help, I will start with that,” Giambalvo said. “But I am frustrated seven months later was our first conversation about it. What they are really talking about is a case by case basis. But there is a huge gray area. But they are talking about city sales tax and helping us with business licenses and things like that”.
Giambalvo plans to close down his University Boulevard location Sunday night.