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North State Closure Hurt Briarcliff Businesses

BRIARCLIFF MANOR, N.Y. – Business owners on Pleasantville Road are concerned that sales this holiday season will be hurt by the closure of a section of North State Road where a large hole developed as a result of Hurricane Irene.

Vincent Janniello, the owner of Janniello's Specialty Foods, said his business decreased by about 15 percent when the portion of North State Road that connects Pleasantville Road to Route 9A was closed for about a month after Hurricane Irene.

"We were definitely affected," he said. "(The closure) is really going to affect us for Thanksgiving when we sell hundreds of fresh turkeys. If it goes into the Christmas season it's really going to devastate us because that's our busiest time of year."

The 500-foot strip of North State Road is temporarily open now with steel plates covering the patched hole, but it is expected to be closed again from Oct. 31 to Nov. 23 while construction workers work day and night to permanently fix the road. The job is tricky because underneath the roadbed there is a gas line, a water main, a sewer main, an electrical oil static line and Department of Transportation junction boxes for traffic signals.

About 15 business owners came to a board of trustees meeting on Wednesday night to voice their concerns. Village officials said that it would not be possible to postpone the work because it is being funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the state under an "emergency funds" category. The project is expected to cost $865,000.

"They told us if they don't do it under state guidelines, they will lose funding and that's why the road has to be closed and it has to be done now," said Donald Borho, the owner of Wondrous Things, a lifestyle gift store on Pleasantville Road.

To help people get to the business district, village officials said they would install lights at the intersection of Route 9A and Pleasantville Road, and at the intersection of Chappaqua Road and Pleasantville Road, to allow people to make a left turn to head towards downtown.

"That would help enormously," said Linda Orfino, the owner of Orfino's Italian Restaurant.

Orfino said her restaurant's business dropped 35 to 40 percent when the strip of North State Road was closed in September.

"One night we had a dinner reservation for seven people and they kept calling and asking for directions and finally they called back and said they were so lost that forget it," Orfino recalled. "As soon as the road reopened, business picked up."

Sue Taub, the owner of Holbrook Cottage lifestyle store said detour signs while the road is closed should state "Business District" instead of "East detour" and "West detour," which confused many customers in September.

"The lights and signs need to be up the day they close the road," Taub said. "I think it should've been done in September."

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