Business owners wary of Purple Line construction

The Purple Line will span just over 16 miles from Bethesda to New Carrollton.

Some businesses along the way fear the light rail’s construction itself could force them to close down or move.

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Michael Bailey owns Ebony Barbers on Bonifant Street for the last 27 years. He says parking availability is the main access point for his customers.

For the last several months, construction crews have taken over half of the street, closing off the parking spots along the way.

Bailey, as well as several other businesses along the Purple Line say the limited parking is affecting their bottom line.

“They’ll come and they can’t park, says Bailey. I’ve been out for two hours trying to find a spot or I’ve been out there an hour trying to get in here and now I don’t have time. So we’re looking to just trying to convince our clients that we are here. We are available.”

Mandalay Restaurant and Cafe on Bonifant Street also say they’re planning to move by the end of the year because they can’t afford to stay open during construction. But there is help.

Javier Rivas is the program director for Resilient Business Corridors. 

They obtain grants from public and private entities in order to use those funds to help out businesses along the Purple Line make ends meet.

He’s working with state leaders to make sure the integrity of these neighborhoods stay intact.

“Recently we did organize a meeting between businesses on Bonifant Street and delegate Jheanelle Wilkins front the state. Currently, she’s trying to pass legislation that will give a break on the income tax for businesses that are along the purple line Corridor,” says Rivas.

FOX 5 spoke with Delegate Wilkins who plans to introduce that bill to the Maryland Legislature next week.