Businesses on the northwest side continue to prepare for what will be a major challenge.
Beginning February 15, Ina Road will close at Interstate 10 for two years as ADOT widens the freeway and re-builds the intersection so cars won't have to stop for trains running on the tracks adjacent to the freeway. According to some estimates, foot and car traffic through the corridor may drop by 80% during construction.
That is worrisome to Clint Peek, who welcomes customers who follow their noses to his Copper Creek Cookie shop deep in a strip mall south of Ina and Old Father. His small shop is tucked between a physical therapy office, a barber shop, and a dog groomer, “Of course that affects us to some degree, because if you’re bringing your dog next door, I’m probably going to get you for a cinnamon roll.”
Wednesday, leaders from the Town of Marana and members of the Marana Chamber of Commerce went door to door to speak with Ina corridor business owners about ways to survive the closure.
The town is easing some rules about signage so businesses can attract what little traffic there will be in the area. Other groups, like Main Street Business Assistance are offering free consulting work. Main Street is funded by the Regional Transportation Authority and is tasked with helping business owners find ways to make money during large construction projects.
“We can help them with graphic design, we can help them with marketing, we can help them with financial analysis, about making some hardcore decisions about what direction to take their business during construction,” Jan Waukon says she’s worked with Main Street to help
Many businesses have already closed, the fences and boarded windows increase closer to I-10, but those sticking it out, like Peek, say they'll take all the help they can get, “Anything that’s out there we're going to participate and try to be as involved as we can.”
The Town of Marans has also launched a smart phone app, “Project Ina” where businesses can advertise special sales and let customers know how to navigate through the construction to find them.