Construction is keeping many shoppers out of Historic Occoquan's antique and crafts shops, and diners away from the town's riverfront restaurants, merchants say.
In 2003, the Virginia Department of Transportation began a $24.6 million project to widen the Route 123 bridge that crosses the Occoquan River. Although merchants said the improvements were needed, business is suffering because traffic is often reduced to one lane on the bridge.
"It's devastated this town for two years," said restaurateur Connie Finck, owner of Sea Sea & Co.
Business is slow for many of the more than 75 shops in Historic Occoquan, said Richard O'Branovich, treasurer of the Occoquan Merchants Association Inc.
Attendance at the June Occoquan Craft Fair, one of two such annual events in the riverfront town, also was down, probably because of the construction, O'Branovich said.
"I think we're all trying to hang on until the bridge is done," said O'Branovich, who owns Country Morning, a store specializing in antiques, folk art and home decor.
Construction should be complete by 2006.
2,000 Attend Unveiling
Of Marine Corps Dollar
More than 2,000 people were at Quantico last week for the presentation of the Marine Corps silver dollar commemorating the Marines' 230th anniversary.
One side of the coin features the Marines raising the U.S. flag at Iwo Jima; the other side is engraved with the official U.S. Marine Corps emblem -- the anchor, globe and eagle.
Those attending the ceremony bought 11,000 of the commemorative coins, which cost $35 for a proof and $39 for an uncirculated coin. Proceeds from the coin sales will help pay for construction of the National Museum of the Marine Corps and Heritage Center at Quantico.
Congress authorizes the production of two commemorative coins each year. The other coin produced this year honors Chief Justice John Marshall.
Luxury Senior Apartments
Planned in Gainesville
A 200-unit luxury rental apartment community for adults 55 and older will open next year in Gainesville. The Marque will have one- to three-bedroom apartments. It will include an outdoor pool, medical offices and a putting green.
Free Workshop to Focus
On Financial Management
For people who just can't stop spending or can't keep a budget, the Virginia Cooperative Extension Prince William Unit is offering a workshop on personal financial management.
"Avoiding Financial Trouble" will be held from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Ferlazzo Building in Woodbridge, and from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Aug. 10 at the Bull Run Regional Library in Manassas.
To register for the free workshop, call 703-792-6287.
Conference to Assist
Nonprofit officials interested in running a profitable business to finance their charitable work can attend a free conference.
The conference is open to nonprofit agencies and faith-based organizations that work with immigrant communities, help low-income neighborhoods or help workers find jobs. It will include information on grant writing, tax issues and contracting opportunities so the groups can form a business to help support their primary goals.
The Small Business Administration, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and Northern Virginia Community College will host the conference from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Aug. 13 at NVCC, 6901 Sudley Rd., Manassas.
-- JENALIA MORENO
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