Mayor plans to shut down busy Roswell Street to vehicles; Business owners enraged

Plenty of business owners in Roswell are upset about a plan to shut down one of the city's busiest streets to vehicles.  

Roswell Mayor Kurt Wilson wants to close off a section of the street to cars. Jenna Aronowitz says it is a move which will hurt businesses by adding to the parking problems.

Aronowitz owns the 1920 Tavern on Canton Street, which is packed with bustling restaurants and shops.

"We already have a major parking deficit that makes doing business hard for all the businesses around here. Now, the city would like to take away 40 of our parking spaces without replacing them," said Aronowitz.

Mayor Wilson says not allowing cars will keep pedestrians safe and enhance the area even more.

"…our dream is for the best quality of life for the city and activating the district even more and bringing more people to these businesses, creating what we call the Canton Street District," said Mayor Wilson.

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The city of Roswell and some business owners are at odds over a plan to close a section of Canton Street, one of the busiest in the downtown area, to traffic. (FOX 5)

Judie Raiford has been a business owner for 45 years.

"This has been tried before. We've had the road closed for special events, and every time it happens businesses lose money. I'm down 60 to 100 percent every time we're closed," said Raiford.

The mayor says he has heard the concerns of business owners and wants to have a trial period. He wants to shut down Canton Street from East Alley to Highway 9 only on weekends for the summer, starting Memorial Day.

"For the mayor and the city council decide to gamble with our money just to see how it's going to work, I don't think that's fair," said business owner Hamid Zhari.

The mayor will hear a lot more from business leaders Tuesday. He and other city leaders will meet with them at 9:30 in the morning to talk about the Canton Street District.