MATA AND MADISON BUSINESS NOT IN SYNC 

MATA AND MADISON BUSINESS NOT IN SYNC

"Why are we stopping the rail extension at Cleveland?" Will Hudson asks rhetorically. "Because that's where we ran out of money." The Memphis Area Transit Authority president and general manager claps his hands and cracks himself up. He's the only one in the room who thinks the joke is funny.

MATA officials met with Madison Avenue business owners on Thursday, January 31st, to discuss concerns that construction of the new trolley line is having a negative impact on their businesses. Some, especially new business owners, fear bankruptcy. For them, running out of money is no laughing matter.

Officials were clear about two things. One: They want to help the beleaguered businesses. Two: The aid they are offering will probably not be financial. No part of the $75 million allocated for the rail extension was budgeted toward assisting businesses blocked by construction.

Questions from business owners concerning tax relief, a utility freeze, or even low-interest loans arranged through the Center City Commission were met with noncommittal shrugs and a repeated reminder that everyone was given a week's notice before street closings.

One MATA official suggested that snack stands and sidewalk sales might encourage pedestrian traffic. Shortly thereafter a representative from Hill Brothers' construction explained that recent environmental restrictions prohibit his company from cleaning the site. That's why nothing has been done about the mud and dust caking the sidewalks.

MATA did agree to place sandwich-board signs at closed street corners announcing that businesses are still open. There was also some talk of freeing up part of MATA's marketing budget to advertise businesses along Madison. Advertising on MATA trolleys and buses, however, would not be provided.

MATA officials confessed that at no time during the planning of the rail extension did anyone investigate the economic impact of necessary street closings on existing Madison Avenue businesses.

"We thought about it," said MATA project manager Tom Fox.

The MATA panel also admitted they were aware that construction of the original Main Street trolley had contributed to the closings of several businesses along the mall.

"Some of us have to sacrifice to get things done," said Vanessa Young, MATA's construction manager.

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Blogs

News Blog

Meet the New Blue Suede Brigade

Fly On The Wall Blog

How Much News is on the News: A Guns & Bunnies Web Extra

Intermission Impossible

August Wilson's Metaphysical "Gem of the Ocean" Opens at The Hattiloo

Politics Beat Blog

Two Bites from the Thursday Night Smorgasbord

News Blog

Photo Contest Focuses on Memphis Bikes

News Blog

Live at the Garden guests prepare to party

News Blog

Bike Lanes and Plazas to Pop Up Downtown

Intermission Impossible

Nuremberg Revisited: An Indie Theater Company Does its Homework

ADVERTISEMENT

Readers also liked…

ADVERTISEMENT
© 1996-2017

Contemporary Media
460 Tennessee Street, 2nd Floor | Memphis, TN 38103
Visit our other sites: Memphis Magazine | Memphis Parent | Inside Memphis Business
Powered by Foundation