South Phoenix light rail construction hurting exotic plant business, bird rescue

A business owner who also rescues animals in south Phoenix says light rail construction 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 massive project the five-mile extension of light rail is on Central Avenue in south Phoenix.

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

The nonprofit is called, A Tropical Concept Exotic Bird Rescue and their business is A Tropical Concept Nursery.

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

"It's nothing but problems," he said.

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

"So far we’ve given that money to 56 businesses, and it's totaled more than $300,000," said Madeline Phipps with Valley Metro. "For the south-central project, we have two business coordinators trying to determine what their needs are."

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

In September 2021, FOX 10 reported on a business that ultimately needed to close its doors permanently because of the loss of business.

"Thank you, thank you, thank you, for this beautiful, beautiful experience. May everybody be well, be blessed, and peace be with you," said Sandra Flores with Azukar Coffee in an Instagram post.

Flores announced her coffee shop on Central Avenue near Baseline Road would close after four years. Her Instagram post cited the reason for the closure is the ongoing construction on south Central Avenue, making way for a new light rail route.

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Phoenix coffee shop loses business, closes down due to Central Avenue light rail construction

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