Valley prepares for Final Four crowds

- Phoenix is getting ready for the coming weekend, as the Final Four is expected to bring a big crowd to the Valley.

Throughout the week, basketball fans are expected to arrive, and activities of all kinds, such as a Fan Fest and free concerts, are scheduled to take place.

Security

Officials with various law enforcement agencies in the Valley were present at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale earlier on Monday. Security was on the minds of those present.

"I'm not going to sit here and say I don't worry about security. I do, but that's my job," said Glendale Mayor Jerry Weiers. "My job's to worry. My job's to make sure no one else has to."

Officials at the event said the best thing people should do is if they see something, say something. In addition, DPS said they have set up a hotline, 877-2SAVEAZ (272-8329).

"That is the Arizona Watch Center," said Colonel Frank Milstead with DPS. "It will be staffed by Arizona State Troopers and Phoenix Police during the entire event."

The two games on Saturday, as well as the game on Monday, are expected to draw fans to the University of Phoenix Stadium and Glendale. In addition, there are free concerts and events planned at the Margaret T. Hance Park and the Phoenix Convention Center in Downtown Phoenix.

Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton said people should be prepared.

"Hance Park in Downtown phoenix will inevitable fill up to the point that not every fan that wants to get in can get in," said Stanton.

The City of Phoenix has added 10 traffic cameras to the Downtown area, so that officials can manage the busy weekend events from the city's Traffic Management Center.

"We are going to see extra levels of traffic here in Downtown," said Monica Hernandez with the City of Phoenix. "So, we're beefing up our resources. We want to make sure that when you're making your way in to Downtown, people can move in a safe and efficient manner." 


Businesses

As the teams prepare for their chance at NCAA glory, four hotels in Downtown Phoenix are changing their decor so that members of the teams can feel at home.

For some people working in Downtown Phoenix restaurants, like Kyle Laws, the games aren't as important as the businesses they bring. Laws said for Super Bowl events, businesses increased by over 50%, and he is excited to welcome the crowds.

"We've doubled up on ordering this week," said Laws. "We've doubled up on staff as well."


Accommodations

In anticipation of the crowds, some people are hoping to make some big bucks, by renting out their homes. One person, Andre Kaluna, is doing just that.

Kaluna is renting out his home in Avondale. According to a listing on Craigslist, the home has four bedrooms, two bathrooms, sits on a golf course, and is not far from the University of Phoenix Stadium.

The cost for five nights? $1,750, with a $500 deposit.

"I smell an opportunity," said Kaluna. "I am ten minutes away from the stadium, so it seemed a pretty ingenious thing to do i guess."

Kaluna is not alone, as there are many fans looking for deals. Tony Dalpiaz is also looking for those willing to rent his place, which just north of Metrocenter. His place, which has two bedrooms and two-and-a-half bathrooms, rents for $475 a night, or $3,000 for a week.


Transportation

With the Final Four-related events in Downtown Phoenix, as well as the Diamondbacks Opening Day, a Phoenix Suns home game, and a Phoenix Symphony concert, officials said Monday people should look at public transportation.

"We always encourage everyone to take Valley Metro Light Rail," said Roxann Favors with the City of Phoenix.

Those who opt to drive to Downtown Phoenix could face a tricky situation, as parking is relatively easier for the Fanfest downtown, due to a large parking structure, but more difficult for the music festival in the Margaret T. Hance Park area.

"Hance Park, being an urban downtown park, there's not a lot of parking there," said Favors. "So, we encourage people to park near the Downtown Core."

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