Potential customers strolling down Damen Avenue in Bucktown last Friday were greeted by more than the typical trendy boutique: construction workers began to set up their bulldozers and other heavy equipment for the next six weeks—the prime time for holiday shopping—to fix a faulty water line. Naturally, the local businesses let their grievances known: how in the world could the city start tearing up the street on the busiest shopping day of the year? It was an extremely tense situation,” says the cool-headed Steve Greenberg, co-owner of Red Dog House, who updated local entrepreneurs via email as talks went on with Tom LaPorte, assistant commissioner of the department of water. “We contacted everyone we could get our hands on.” LaPorte talked to the engineers working on the project, who determined the situation wasn’t an emergency, and the decision was made to delay construction until January, making business owners “thrilled.” Score one for democracy. Unless, of course, the water main breaks again (it has twice in recent months), which is the biggest fear of the local alderman, Scott Waguespack. “If the pipes break again, it costs the taxpayers,” Waguespack says. “But I guess that’s a chance we’ll have to take.”
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