Broadway business owners skeptical - Tucson News Now

Broadway business owners skeptical

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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

For the past 30 years, owners along Broadway have heard the roadway is being widened.

If not next year then certainly in the next five years they have been told.

Repairs and upgrades were put on hold, expansions canceled and a general malaise set in over Broadway.

"It's just killed business," says Mike Hultquist, owner and business partner of Lerua's Mexican food restaurant and Broadway and Campbell. "Business feeds off of other business."

But few new businesses will tempt fate and move into an area where there is so much uncertainty.

"Here we are stuck now and just at a standstill," says the Reverend Jimmy Munns, Minster at the First Assembly of God. "How can we spend money and make improvements knowing if could be taken away six months later."

Munns has heard about the widening for 20 years and decided his church had to take a risk a few years ago.

The church spent about $600,000 on new meeting space, gymnasium and teaching facility next door.

"We couldn't survive without it," he says. "We needed the spade desperately."

But now, the wisdom of the expenditure is still up in the air.

"We don't know whether we're staying or moving," he says.

Hultquist bought property next door 20 years ago for expansion but the city refused to grant him the needed permits because it would have to pay more for acquisition down the road.

Whether he will get his investment back is still a big question mark.

"It's really hard to do business with the city of Tucson or the RTA," he says.

Others have been told to sell as quickly as possible once the city decides on an alignment.

Munns says an attorney specializing in land acquisitions in the area told him the "city will run out of money."

Tucson is still debating what to do with Broadway, whether is should be six lanes or car traffic, two transit lanes and bike lanes expanding 150 feet side to side.

Or whether is should be four lanes of traffic and two lanes of transit at 96 feet wide.

It makes a large difference in how many structures the city of Tucson and the RTA will have to buy and demolish.

A decision could be made by summer and if not, by the end of the years.

"I'll believe it when I see it," says Hultquist. 

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