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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Tucson streetcar begins operations after grand opening ceremony

Rebecca Marie Sasnett

Jonathan Rothschild (center), mayor of Tucson, along with Donna DiFiore (left of Rothschild), owner of Delecables, and Kurt Tallis (left of DiFiore), events and marketing director for 4th Avenue Merchants Association, cut the ribbon during the fourth stop, 4th Avenue and 7th st., of the Sun Link Streetcar opening ceremony Friday morning. Activities celebrating the opening of the streetcar will take place from Friday to Sunday including free rides on the streetcar. Activities celebrating the opening of the streetcar will take place from Friday to Sunday including free rides on the streetcar.

The Sun Link Tucson Modern Streetcar launched Friday morning to much regalia, as one car made a ceremonial trip along its four mile route, carrying members of the media and prominent figures like Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild, before stopping at Congress Street and Fifth Avenue for a grand opening ceremony.

The car stopped at five districts along the route for ribbon cutting ceremonies, where members of businesses and organizations from each district turned out.

UA President Ann Weaver Hart, flanked by Wilbur and Wilma Wildcat, spoke at the ribbon cutting at the University of Arizona district ceremony. The ceremony, held at the Helen Street and Warren Avenue streetcar stop near the University of Arizona Medical Center, drew a large crowd. Hart thanked all involved for their hard work and said she felt this was a step forward for the UA and Tucson.

The streetcar arrived and Rothschild deboarded and addressed the crowd. He said that he hoped the streetcar benefited the UA, because when the UA succeeds, Tucson succeeds. After his speech, Rothschild and Hart cut the ribbon before boarding and riding to the next district ceremony.

The UA district ceremony was the second stop on the ribbon cutting tour. The first ceremony was held at the Mercado San Agustin district stop. After the UA district, the car traveled to Main Gate Square, where it was ushered in by an ensemble of the Pride of Arizona marching band and pom line members. Then it was off to the Fourth Avenue district, where Donna DiFiore, owner of Delectables Restaurant & Catering and a member of the Fourth Avenue Merchants Association, spoke about how excited merchants on Fourth Avenue were for the added business the streetcar would bring.

At the final stop for the festivities in downtown Tucson, large crowds gathered in the streets. A quintet played on the main stage and large tents were set up to provide shade for spectators. Businesses along Congress Street set up tables on the sidewalk, handing out refreshments.

Rothschild spoke at the final ceremony, along with former mayor Bob Walkup and other notable Tucson citizens.

Events will be held along the route to celebrate the streetcar throughout the weekend, including an ice cream social at Maynards Market & Kitchen from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Anyone can ride the streetcar for free now through Sunday.

—Follow news editor Hannah Plotkin on Twitter @HannahPlotkin

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