Many of those removed are adorned with artwork and destined for an exhibit so Kenney has ordered $2,500 in plywood to accommodate requests. Her executive board is also encouraging business owners not to remove plywood for the time being.
“We can’t, in good faith, encourage any more board removal. It’s just not feeling safe,” Kenney said. “The impact of what’s happening on State Street is going to affect the whole Downtown.”
A number of business owners who spoke to a reporter were unwilling to be named or have their businesses identified for fear they or their businesses would face retribution from protesters. They said the government needs to do more to ensure State Street is safe and protect their businesses, including calling in the National Guard if needed.
On Monday, a coalition of State Street businesses pleaded with the city to improve safety, offer subsidies to attract new businesses and to temporarily convert the street into a pedestrian mall. A letter with 19 requests asked for more security cameras, the removal of rocks from planters and to replace the glass at the now boarded-up visitor center adjacent to Lisa Link Peace Park. There were also requests for refunds on taxes and permit and license fees due to closures from COVID-19 followed by rioting and looting during protests.
Khen Sinarack “Bey” Macviley has owned Rising Sons Thai Restaurant, 617 State St., since 2006, but began with a grocery store on South Park Street in 2000. The past few months have challenged her business, and she’s hoping she can stay afloat amid the coronavirus pandemic and violence.