MIDDLETOWN, Ohio -- The Meadows restaurant has served customers at the intersection of University Avenue and Yankee Road for more than 84 years, but the business has rarely experienced a blow as severe as the one dealt this year by two months of disruptive construction.
A city road project meant to improve traffic on University and Yankee spilled over into The Meadows' parking lot, according to owner Emily Profitt, tearing up parts of it, blocking the main entrance and turning the lot into a thoroughfare between the two nearby streets.
"This is private property," she said. "We weren't asked; we weren't told. We didn't know anything about it."
Profitt said she understood the need to turn the roads into two-lane streets, but losing her main entrance and becoming part of a new traffic pattern were never changes she expected.
"People, they go fast through (the parking lot)," she said. "My customers are not used to that. It has hurt the business."
How much? In some cases, it's cut the number of customers who visit by up to 50 percent, she said. Profitt said she's received voicemails from customers who couldn't figure out how to reach the restaurant or weren't sure if it was still open while the construction was ongoing.
Profitt wants the city of Middletown to repave her damaged parking lot and restore the original entrance, she said. According to her, city engineers claimed the latter would be a road hazard.
"We've been open for years (and) never had an accident, fender bender -- nothing here," she said.
City officials confirmed they were in an "ongoing conversation" with Profitt and added they expected the construction near the restaurant to be complete by the end of the week. However, landscaping in the area could continue through September.