South Phoenix light rail construction harms exotic plant trade, bird rescue

A business owner who also rescues animals in the south Phoenix says building light rail is strangling his business and he doesn’t know what to do to survive financially.

From the ground and from the air, you can tell what a colossal project the five-mile light rail extension on Central Avenue in South Phoenix is.

Small business owner Dan Vallen and his wife run an exotic plant business and non-profit organization for exotic birds near Central Avenue and Broadway Road.

The association is called, A Tropical Concept Rescue of exotic birds and their business is A nursery with a tropical concept.

Despite friendly animals and a thriving jungle of tropical plants, Vallen says business since light rail construction has evaporated and people can’t easily get to the driveway.

“These are just problems,” he said.

Valley Metro says this is the heaviest part of the project, moving utilities and the impact will lessen once complete. It offers programs, including one that helps small businesses financially.

“So far, we’ve given this money to 56 companies, and it’s totaled over $300,000,” said Valley Metro’s Madeline Phipps. “For the south-central project, we have two business coordinators who are trying to determine what their needs are.”

The billion-dollar project is expected to be completed in 2024.

In September 2021, FOX 10 reported on a company that had to close its doors in the end due to loss of activity.

“Thank you, thank you, thank you for this beautiful, beautiful experience. May everyone be well, be blessed and peace be with you,” Sandra Flores said with Cafe Azuka in an Instagram Publish.

Flores announced that his cafe on Central Avenue near Baseline Road would close after four years. His Instagram post cited the reason for the closure is ongoing construction on South Central Avenue, paving the way for a new light rail route.

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Phoenix cafe loses business and closes due to Central Avenue light rail construction

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Jose P. Rogers