Rio Hondo Businesses on the Brink of Closure

4 years 10 months 4 weeks ago Monday, September 18 2017 Sep 18, 2017 September 18, 2017 6:46 PM September 18, 2017 in News

RIO HONDO – After a year of dwindling business, Rio Hondo resident Maria Lucio has decided to put her business up for sale.

It was the first pizzeria to open its doors in Rio Hondo. Fourteen years later, the closure of the lift bridge for repairs was just too big of a hurdle to overcome.

"There’s just very little business and the way things are going, we're not even going to make it till the end of the year," Lucio said.

The bridge that sits yards from her business shut down last summer to undergo needed repairs. Rio Hondo city manager Ben Medina said the bridge had been in service since the 1950's and has never been completely closed.

Lucio believes it's just taken too long to re-open.

"We didn't think that it would take this long," Lucio said. "We hadn't been told that it would be this long. From what I can tell, it keeps getting pushed back more and more."

Texas Department of Transportation spokesman Octavio Saenz told CHANNEL 5 NEWS the project is on task and lanes should be open to traffic in the winter.

Medina hopes it will be before Christmas.

"We're a small community, so sales-tax dollars are a lot less than bigger communities," Medina said. "So when I say one or two percent, we're talking about $2,000 to $3,000 less in sales-tax dollars per month."

Lucio has tried advertising, sale prices and even driving longer distances for delivery.

In the end, she said not having enough local business and traffic from fishermen forced her to close her doors.

Medina said there is a plan in place to help revitalize the downtown area after the bridge reopens. TxDOT is working with the city on that project.

Medina is asking residents to shop local to help struggling businesses make it through the next few months.

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