Construction of the downtown train trench will affect traffic patterns
over the next few years. The changes in one area are about to force one small business to close.
This may be one of those stories where our coverage of the situation can end up affecting the outcome.
In a way . . . more on that in a moment.
Mehran Zandi bought the AM/PM market and gas
station at the corner of Keystone & W. 1st Street three years ago with dreams of running his own business. Those dreams are now in shambles and very soon they may be gone.
Businesses along the railroad corridor were bound to be affected by the
ReTRAC project. Some are literally in the way and those faced condemnation and a search for a new home. Others face slim times when access is limited and customers go elsewhere.
Mehran Zandi's problem is a little different. He's a block away from the railroad, but feels the project's effects. Like others along this street, his business drops when the Keystone Avenue crossing is closed, but those closings are temporary and periodic.
A lot of Zandi's business came from people living in northwest
Reno, using the Second Street underpass as a quick route into the
That route is now closed to all but those on a mountain bike and it won't reopen. Zandi figures it's cost him between 50 - 60 percent of his business.
Business that isn't coming back.
He took out a $450,000 loan to buy the business and says he's invested more since then. In a few days he may have to walk away from it all.
Some of the fuel pumps here are already empty. Others are getting
low and Zandi doesn't know if he'll be able to fill them again. It may
be time to finally hang it up.
He's looked for help, but found little from his gasoline company or the city.
"They referred me to some people and I talked with them, but I
can't get any answers," Zandi says.
That may be changing.
We found Mayor Bob Cashell having lunch a few blocks away.
A few minutes later we followed him back as he paid Zandi a visit.
The mayor made no promises, but says the city will look for solutions.
"I can't accept collateral damage. This is a program where we've
got to look for solutions and find a way for him to survive. We're doing
our best," Cashell says.
Just what, if any, relief the city can give Zandi isn't clear, but at
least they are looking at it.
He did appear before the council recently and was referred to the Public Works department, but says he wasn't getting any immediate answers.
We weren't either, but we can say the search is underway.