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Edmonton business owner voices concerns about ongoing vandalism

Click to play video 'Edmonton business owner speaks out after store vandalized' Edmonton business owner speaks out after store vandalized
WATCH: A Fort Road business owner is speaking out after her store's windows were smashed on two different occasions. Sarah Komadina has more – Aug 16, 2020

My Grandma’s Attic owner Nancy Chekowski decided to replace a window with a wall at her Edmonton shop after she said someone smashed it in early August.

After the work was finished Friday, Chekowski said she was going to take pictures of the mini upgrade to post to Facebook the next morning but instead found another window broken.

“There was glass right from that window all the way to the back door,” Chekowski said. “I’m just so angry.”

Chekowski has been operating her business out of her Fort Road location for 10 years. The city has plans to rejuvenate the area but Chekowski said not a lot has been done.

Read more: Members of Edmonton’s business community frustrated by lack of progress on Fort Road’s revitalization

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“When we moved in here, this was supposed to be like a mini Whyte Ave. That’s why we rented here. They had all kinds of beautiful plans and everything,” Chekowski said. “Then nothing happened.”

Chekowski said she wants more police to patrol the area and she hasn’t seen as many officers on bikes as she has in previous years. For now, she has the more recent broken window boarded up.

“What do I put in there now? If I put in another glass… will they break it?” she said.

Read more: Future unclear for stalled Station Pointe development in Edmonton’s northeast

A few blocks away, Red Claw Gaming owner David Bibby said his business hasn’t been the target of much vandalism.

“We are on pretty good terms with the homeless population in the area. We let them use the washroom, we let them clean up, stuff like that and that seems to have gone a long way,” Bibby said.

“We actually employ [a homeless person] to clean up around the building, so he has really kept down the vandalism, like there was graffiti being put on three other buildings and we didn’t get touched.”
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Bibby said when he took over the store five years ago, he was surprised at the lack of foot traffic.

“There isn’t a lot of foot traffic that comes this way, even though I’m pretty conveniently located from the Belvedere Station,” he said.

“It’s obviously preferable if I had more people go, ‘Hey, what’s this?’ and drop in.”

Bibby said he also hasn’t seen much done to revitalize the area, even though there is a Fort Road Business Association and a business improvement tax.

“There [have] been some changes like they’ve done some beautification along the boulevard, but there really hasn’t been anything as far as I’m concerned that I’ve been able to take advantage of or have seen any major changes to help me doing business here,” Bibby said.

“Would there be other locations that I would like to be in? Absolutely, but you take the good with the bad. I would be paying a lot more to be in a place that was in a different location.”

Global News reached out to Edmonton police and Ward 4 Coun. Aaron Paquette for comment but neither were available.