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Aug 12, 2012 2:27 AM

Tucson Streetcar derails downtown's "Second Saturdays" business

TUCSON - Most local business owners agree that the arrival of Tucson's modern streetcar is going to help boost customer traffic downtown. But there are some who believe all of the construction has definitely derailed business this summer and turned downtown's " Second Saturdays" in to somber Saturdays.

The evidence is everywhere, torn up streets, roads closed and fences. Todd Hanley is the general manager for Hotel Congress and Maynards restaurants. He says all of the work being done has definitely derailed business this summer. "The streetcar has definitely added to the struggles as a business", said Hanley, "Historically we've been worse off than we have in the past eight or nine summers."

But other business owners, like Janos Wilder, say places that are easier to get to haven't felt the impact as much others in the area. "We're (Downtown Kitchen & Cocktails) a little bit up from last summer", he said, "I thought last summer was pretty good. So we're optimistic about it it's very good."

For regular visitors to downtown, such as Magon Thayer, the construction has been a detour when it comes to how often she makes the trip now. "We still come", she said, "but we don't come quite as often."

Although the streetcar construction has impacted both of the businesses he manages, Todd Hanley says he believes when the work is finally done it will have been worth the wait. "It's a big step towards connecting the University of Arizona with downtown", he said, "so we think it's going to go along way for us as a business."

Businesses and their customers in this area will be dealing with this situation for awhile, construction for the modern streetcar is not expected to be completed until October of 2013.

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