Construction in St. Pete's Edge District hurting businesses, owners say

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There's no shortage of construction cranes in St. Pete's Edge District. However, what's seen as exploding growth to many is actually stunting the growth of small businesses in the 1600 block of Central Avenue, owners say.

"It's like they don't even know we are here anymore," said Denise Becknell, the owner of Leafy Greens Café. 

Becknell is having to act as chef of her restaurant because she says she has been forced to cut the hours of the employees she has left. 

"My servers have had to take a cut in pay," she told FOX 13 on Sunday. 

Construction on both sides of Central Avenue has created major parking problems for this strip of small businesses.

Becknell said her restaurant was taking in close to $10,000 every two weeks. But after construction started, she said that was cut down to just $3,200.

"It's threatening to put us out of business after 11 years," Becknell said. 

She's not the only one hurting. Her old neighbors, Winesmith, was forced to "close permanently" after posting on Facebook about the parking crisis caused by construction.

Becknell said she is excited for what's to come when things return to normal, with a new hotel and luxury apartments across the street. But in the short term, she said she is extremely worried. 

The City of St. Petersburg and the developers behind the construction couldn't be reached for comment Sunday.