Sep 27, 2013 1:41 AM by Sam Salzwedel

Planners considering fate of Broadway businesses

TUCSON - Hundreds of people packed a meeting about widening Broadway Boulevard Thursday.

Rocco Digrazia owns Rocco's Little Chicago Pizzeria, which is on the construction route. For all he knows, his business may be torn down.

"It's concerning," Digrazia said. "But I think I'll survive as a business. And I hope it doesn't happen. But if it does, I understand that I've done everything I could to make the road the best I can."

Evren Sonmez went to the session at the Sabbar Shrine Temple. She is concerned about the historic houses and making sure the road is useful for different types of transportation.

"It's going to happen," Sonmez said. "But I think they have a pretty sincere process here."

Broadway Boulevard will be widened from Euclid Avenue to Country Club Road. It is one of the 35 voter-approved major projects for the Regional Transportation Authority. It should cost $71.3 million.

James DeGrood is the Director of Transportation Services for the Pima Association of Governments, he said the public meetings are important for fine-tuning the plans.

"We need to hear from the whole community," DeGrood said. "The whole community uses this, and that's what we're here to talk about."

Tucson has already bought some buildings along the route. Councilman Steve Kozachik thinks the city is spending the money too early and losing tax revenue from the properties. He is concerned they are an eyesore that could sit around for years.

"It doesn't make any sense for the city to become a landlord," Kozachik said, "to own vacant, unused properties. Let's find a way to keep the businesses active."

More information is available on the project website.


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