Investors working on Summerhaven revival

Visitors can expect a new restaurant and condominiums

CREATED Jul 2, 2011

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Mt. Lemmon, ARIZ. (KGUN9-TV) – Summer is prime time for Summerhaven businesses, and though fire restrictions have made it more difficult for some shops to stay open, new attractions in the coming year promise to bring more visitors up Mt. Lemmon.

“We always stop at The General Store as well as the Cookie Cabin and always at the Gift Shop next door at the Living Rainbow,” said Kristin Tindall, who visits Mt. Lemmon frequently.

Within the next year, visitors will find another stop at Summerhaven: The Saw Mill Restaurant. It’s being built on a lot that once housed the Mount Lemmon Café, a smaller eatery that closed right after its owner passed away. Longtime resident Bob Zimmerman says it’s one of the ways he is trying to bring Summerhaven back to life.

“One of the things that burned down during the Aspen Fire was the Alpine Inn and it had a bar and restaurant, so there’s definitely a big void up here,” Zimmerman said. “Everybody who lives up here, works here and vacations here is very excited about it.”

Zimmerman said he wants to contribute to a place he’s known and loved for so long. He is also planning a condominium project called The Ponderosa, an 18-unit complex to be built near the white tent that currently houses an audience for the Music on the Mountain event every Sunday. But Zimmerman noted that project won’t progress quickly until the real estate market picks up again.

“We’ll never go back to the way things were before, but there’s a lot of support in the community for having a village center again,” Zimmerman said. Much of that support comes from fellow business owners, who welcome new attractions to increase the number of visitors to Mt. Lemmon.

“I think it’s wonderful to get the energy back up the village again because that was always the center of town, so I can’t really wait,” said Debbie Fagan, owner of the Living Rainbow Gift Shop. “The restaurant will give people a choice of where you can have breakfast and dinner.”

Mt. Lemmon cancelled it’s parade for July 4th, breaking a 35-year tradition due to concerns over fire danger. But businesses will stay open during the holiday. The road up the mountain will close at 4pm Monday to all non-residents.