Tucson CitizenTucson Citizen

Scott Avenue construction palatable for firms

Citizen Staff Writer



Business owners on Scott Avenue want Congress Street businesses to know getting your street torn up for several months of infrastructure work may be noisy and dusty but it’s not debilitating.

Scott Avenue south of Broadway is nearing the end of five months’ work that took away all the existing street and sidewalk and rebuilt a narrower street with wider sidewalks and foliage and better street lighting.

Tenants on the street had such close communication with the city and the work crew that they got to know Archer Western Contractors employees by their first names.

“I have (the Archer Western project manager’s) number programmed in and he has mine,” said David Cap, production manager at Arizona Theatre Co., where new street pavement was being poured Wednesday morning.

Cap said attendance at ATC has not diminished during the construction, which took away all the Scott Avenue street parking used by early arriving theater patrons.

“We’ve been very proactive telling patrons what’s happening,” Cap said.

The Royal Elizabeth Bed & Breakfast Inn, 204 S. Scott Ave., attributes any drop in attendance to the economy and none to the construction that tore out the sidewalk and street just beyond the front door.

“To be honest, our guests come from around the world,” co-owner Jeff DiGregorio said. “They say, ‘This is nothing. We have construction where we live, too.’ ”

DiGregorio, Cap, and Tucson Children’s Museum interim executive director Michael Luria lauded the close and constant communication with Fran LaSala, the city’s project manager, and Archer Western.

“They come around and tell you what’s going to happen,” Luria said. “We’ve known all along, in advance, when Scott’s going to be closed.”

Michael Flanagan, manager of Flanagan’s Celtic Corner, 222 E. Congress St., was encouraged by what he heard from his Scott brethren that street construction may not be as bad on his business as it could be.

“The potential sounds like that,” Flanagan said. “It sounds like they found ways to get around issues that will impact traffic flows.”

LaSala and the Downtown Tucson Partnership worked closely with Scott Avenue merchants to design the new Scott Avenue streetscape and carry out the project. Partnership Executive Director Glenn Lyons described Scott as a trial run to get a communication process in place for the Congress Street infrastructure project.

Work on Congress was supposed to start immediately after Scott, and both originally were part of the same construction contract overseen by LaSala, an assistant to the city manager. But management of the Congress project has been assigned to the city Transportation Department and has been delayed indefinitely.

“It is our understanding that with the recent transition in the (city) manager’s office, the project is on hold until reviewed by the new city manager,” Transportation Department spokesman Michael R. Graham said.

The Congress work would upgrade utilities under the street, move them out of the way of the streetcar tracks and install streetcar tracks.

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