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  • Writer's pictureDiana Brandt

Hard Hat Thursdays = Gift card giveaways and more

It's not just construction workers who get to have all the fun. The Downtown Tempe Authority welcomes you to put on your party hat, in this case a yellow hard hat, and celebrate the improvements coming to downtown with the launch of the long-anticipated Tempe Streetcar construction project. Valley Metro’s and the City of Tempe’s Tempe Streetcar project has been in the planning for nearly a decade, and the infrastructure improvement project will herald a new streetcar line and loop serving downtown Tempe, historic and redeveloping neighborhoods, Arizona State University and the emerging Rio Salado corridor. Preliminary projects have punctuated the downtown streetscape for months, and construction begins in earnest this week with the temporary closing of Mill Avenue’s northbound traffic lanes. Construction is planned to last through August 15th, 2019. The fortuitous timing aligns with the typically slower summer months, when Arizona State University students are on summer break, and a smaller daytime community uses the city’s streets and services. The Downtown Tempe Authority has worked with merchants of all kinds in the celebrated city center, which boasts over seventy percent locally- and independently- owned businesses.

A non-profit formed in 1993 by and for the local business community to support downtown, the Downtown Tempe Authority has organized the “Hard Hat Thursdays” campaign which includes weekly promotions, specials and deals for customers. Every Thursday locals from throughout the Valley are invited to partake of promotions, grab a free hard hat, and celebrate the improvements coming to Downtown Tempe. In addition to their standard daily specials, menu offerings, select services and happy hours, many downtown businesses have rallied to offer up extra incentives and deals to draw the public in during construction. Every Thursday from May 16 through August 15, a different downtown business will be featured along with their specials, and the non-profit organization is running weekly gift card giveaways both online and on the streets.

Facebook and Instagram fans and followers of the Downtown Tempe Authority will see weekly gift card giveaways to local, participating businesses. The Downtown Tempe Safety Patrol, Parking Compliance and Clean Teams will be handling daily, in-person giveaways of gift cards to random guests on the street, and thank them for supporting downtown merchants during construction with #RandomKindnessDT campaign.

Lori Foster, Director of Business Relations for the Downtown Tempe Authority noted that summers are typically slower due to the weather and decrease in student population -- a time when many locals enjoy a quieter, more languid pace of life with warm evenings enjoyed on patios at local bars and restaurants. This summer will be a pivotal one for many local merchants, and the organization invites the community to come out and patronize local businesses now more than ever.

“Summer is always a special time in Downtown Tempe, and this year, we’re really going to pull out all the stops and celebrate,” said the Downtown Tempe Authority’s Director of Business Relations, Lori Foster. She explains that, “We’ve been working for years now with Valley Metro, the City of Tempe, the Tempe Chamber of Commerce, Tempe Tourism office and Local First Arizona, as well as other partners to develop exciting promotions to help offset the potential dip this summer. We invite the community to come out and support their favorite local businesses over the next three months; when every customer and transaction is more valuable to them than ever.”

Valley Metro is overseeing the tight and well-organized project plan for this summer’s construction which includes regular updates on traffic, lane closures and re-routings, business deliveries, and pedestrian rights of way. Potential guests and customers are encouraged to check the Valley Metro and local business websites for updates on entrances, egress and getting to and from businesses, which may change often.

For more information about Streetcar promotions and details for getting a free hard hat, please visit:

For more information about Valley Metro’s Tempe Streetcar project, please visit:

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