County launches trial of business on The Loop
In less than 24 hours, three businesses signed up for Pima County’s trial program allowing businesses to setup along the loop.
Pima County announced a six month trial program, which starts May 1, allowing companies to reserve one of eight spaces to do business on the Loop. The sites are all on the Rillito portion of The Loop.
Valerie Samoy, who spearheaded the program for the county, said a business requested the ability to conduct business along the loop two years ago, but the county got serious about it at the beginning of this year.
Businesses will be able to reserve one of the eight locations for $100 per month, which will entitle them to sell their merchandise from “dawn to dusk” each day.
Samoy said the locations were selected based on several criteria including the ensuring the land was Pima County owned, provided shade, bathrooms, wouldn’t cause a traffic jam, and had enough users to support a business.
There are eight sites at five different locations all along The Loop. They include (From west to east):
- Flowing Wells Park – south bank – at the west end of the park, end of Shannon Road.
- Kory Laos Memorial BMX Park is just west of park. There is 1 vendor site.
- Paseo del Rio Trailhead – north bank – between La Cholla Boulevard and La Canada Drive. There are 2 vendor sites.
- Children’s Memorial Park – north bank – far west end of park. There is 1 vendor site.
- Brandi Fenton Memorial Park – north bank – entrance to Loop, south of splash pad. There are 2 vendor sites.
- Riverhaven Trailhead – south bank – east of Alvernon Way on Paradise Falls Drive. There are 2 vendor sites.
Samoy said the online reservation process is a first-come-first-serve process and the county would consider adding more locations if their is demand for them.
For now, she said they would monitor the number of businesses the continue requesting the spaces, but recognized starting the program in the summer would be a challenge.
She said the county would evaluate the success through “feedback from vendors and users of The Loop.”
So far a vendors looking to sell kettle corn, lotions and soaps, and snacks and drinks have signed up.
Samoy said the program prohibits food trucks because of their size, the parking they need to operate and the goal to keep the area for non-motorized use.
Michael Wilkinson, who owns The Loop Bicycle Shop along the Santa Cruz River, said he had mixed feelings about the program. He liked the idea of allowing business owners to setup along The Loop and is for anything than brings more attention to The Loop, but thought the price was too high and the rules made it onerous for the “little guys.”
“[At that prince,] you aren’t going to make it selling water bottles and Clif bars,” he said.
Vendors will be required to have liability insurance and a valid business license in order to register.
Check out The Loop page for full rules and the registration process.