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Jul 8, 2012 1:55 AM

Fourth Avenue food carts questioned by merchants

TUCSON - The City Council will consider an ordinance restricting food vendors on 4th Avenue sidewalks.

John Sedwick, Director of the 4th Avenue Merchants Association, sent a letter to Tucson City Councilman Steve Kozachik.

He wrote that the carts cause public safety problems.

"Late night gathering at food vendor locations after the bars close often times totally block the sidewalks with unruly crowds," Sedwick wrote.

"[T]he food vendors generally leave dirty and stained sidewalks where they are located, necessitating cleaning by private parties other than the food vendor."

Kozachik has asked the Council to discuss the situation in a Tuesday study session.

For some vendors, the controversy is about more than just hot dogs.

"If they get rid of it," Kristopher Cruze said, "I can't support my family."

Andrew Heatley leases property near the sidewalk vendors. He says the late-night crowds are often violent.

"If things are getting a little bit crazy, they can't tell people to leave," Heatley said, "because they don't have that control. It's public property."

Some 4th Avenue patrons like seeing the carts.

"They've been here for a while," Lisa Vanwagenen said. "They're kind of like a staple part of the 4th Avenue experience at night."

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