Community event helps businesses along Phoenix light rail construction

PHOENIX - Local businesses affected by light rail construction in Phoenix tried to make up for some of their lost revenue at a community event on Sunday.

Crews broke ground about a year ago near 19th and Northern avenues for the rail extension that runs from Bethany Home Road to Dunlap Avenue.

The project is far from over but business owners in the neighborhood try to remain optimistic.

The light rail extension isn't scheduled to be finished for another two years, leaving drivers and businesses dealing with dug-up roads that make it hard to shop there.

On Sunday, the Gyro House was one of several businesses invited by Valley Metro to set up a tent at a community event in the neighborhood.

Brin Dawood spent the day cooking chicken for sandwiches.

Dawood's family took over the business a few months ago when the previous owners went out of business.

"You know there's still construction and stuff, were getting through it -- well, making it," Dawood said.

A rock climbing station and bouncy slide helped draw families to the public affair, but the real reason was to spotlight local businesses that sit along 19th Avenue.

Phoenix Councilman Daniel Valenzuela was on hand thanking business owners for their patience.

"We are working very hard to keep access open, these businesses depend on it," Valenzuela said.

Roads in the area have been all but destroyed by construction to make way for the new light rail.

Loyal customers like Ricardo Moranth help make up a little bit for the loss in revenue.

"You've got to give back to the community because a lot of businesses are going under because of the construction," Moranth said.

Valley Metro is hoping community events like Sunday's will encourage more people to shop at these struggling businesses while construction continues.

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