Officer John DeStefano meets Dr. Connie McCollow of Marana Physical Therapy
The businesses along Ina Road are about to experience major changes due to the reconstruction of the Ina/I-10 interchange. The Town of Marana has undertaken a number of efforts to mitigate the consequences of this roadwork, and on Wednesday morning, Town staff partnered with the Marana Chamber of Commerce to embark on a business walk, stopping at every one of the more than 200 businesses along the Ina Road corridor.
Armed with pens and clipboards, this small army of local officials and business owners set out to listen to and record all the concerns of those affected by this construction, and hopefully, to connect those businesses with helpful resources that will help them not only to survive construction, but to thrive through the project’s completion.
Ed Stolmaker, presidents and CEO of the Marana Chamber of Commerce, greeted the business walk participants before they hit the pavement. “We want to let all these businesses know that we’re here to help them with whatever they need."
Each walking team consisted, at a minimum, of a Town staff member and a member of the Marana Chamber. In addition to simply talking with the business owners, these teams also distributed folders full of helpful information. Included in these materials were a brochure about a program working to end retail theft, an informational sheet about how to apply for a special sign code permit, a marketing “table tent” that advertises the Project Ina app that business can post on their front counters, and much more.
The Regional Transportation Authority, which is funding this project, is also excited to offer the MainStreet Business Assistance Program. This program provides consulting services for businesses affected by construction. “We’ve provided services to over 6000 businesses,” explained Jan Aalberts-Waukon, who is helping oversee the Ina Road efforts of the program. “We can help with marketing strategies, financial analysis, social media support, and much more.”
Fully prepared with all their business walk supplies, the walking teams then stepped out into the mild morning sunshine. Javier Avalos, owner of Spectrum Ina Road Auto Collision, enthusiastically approached the door of Copper Creek Cookies, eager to champion these business support programs.
“The MainStreet Business Assistance Program and the Project Ina app are both great opportunities for businesses to get the word out to customers that Ina Road is open,” he explained to Clint Peek, owner of the bakery. Once he’d handed over the packet, though, it was time to listen. “Do you have any concerns or questions about this work?” Javier asked Clint.
“Of course this project presents some serious challenges, but we’re really happy with everything that the Town and the Chamber have done to help out these businesses,” answered Clint.
Town officials and the Marana Chamber know, however, that many businesses owners are feeling anxious about this project. The long-term benefit of this project, however, is clear. The new overpass at Ina Road will greatly improve the safety of this intersection and ease congestion by eliminating the need to stop for trains. In the meantime, the Town of Marana and the Marana Chamber of Commerce are excited to support any businesses in the construction zone.
“The businesses in the Ina Road Corridor are a vital part of Marana’s local economy,” says Stolmaker, “and throughout this project, we want to do everything we can to keep this sector thriving. Ina Road is open for business.”