[ NEWS ]







By D. Shayne Christie
Arizona Daily Wildcat
April 2, 1997

Business owners: Fans were just having fun

Despite some damage to the area, North Fourth Avenue merchants said they felt the crowds that packed the streets after the Wildcat's victory over Kansas Monday night were just out to have a good time.

Zoe, a clothing store at 735 N. Fourth Ave., was one of the few businesses damaged in Monday's celebration.

Nick Stamos, the store's owner, said one of his front windows was broken at 2:30 a.m. He said it cost him $230 to replace the window.

Despite the damages, Stamos said he was at ease with the whole post-game situation.

"When I came this morning and saw my broken window, I thought, 'It could have been a lot worse,'" he said.

"A few bad apples spoiled my window," Stamos said. "I was in Ann Arbor when the University of Michigan won in 1989, and it was 100 times worse."

The Tucson Police Department reported that the damage to the Fourth Avenue area was limited to broken lights and windows, stolen or damaged street signs, damaged vehicles and assorted damaged items belonging to Fourth Avenue merchants. Police stated that the value of the damage was unknown.

Loose Change, 417 N. Fourth Ave., suffered minor damage in Monday's post-game frenzy when a red "UA" was spray-painted on the store's front wall.

"The alcohol ruined it," said Barbara Olsen, manager of Loose Change. "I live a few blocks from here and I could hear it. I came in early thinking the window might be broken."

John Soto, an employee with the City of Tucson's Street Maintenance Division, said an 18-person crew, consisting of six city employees and 12 from the Beacon Foundation, were cleaning up yesterday starting 6 a.m.

"We weren't predicting to put out any (additional) crews," Soto said.

The south wall of the Dairy Queen at 501 N. Fourth Ave. was also spraypainted with the slogans "#1 Go Cats" and "Go Cats Go!"

Fourth Avenue bars experienced a rush during the championship game, but despite the crowds, managers there reported few problems.

Christian Corbett, manager of Maloney's On Fourth, 213 N. Fourth Ave., said the crowd was excellent. He said that except for some broken glasses, there was no damage.

"We had a good crowd the entire day, and we never had problems with anybody," Corbett said.

John Schuldt, manager of O'Malleys On Fourth, 247 N. Fourth Ave., said, "It was a big mess, there was a lot of celebrating going on."

He said a few people were asked to leave, but the atmosphere was "chaotic but controlled."

There were more than 500 people in O'Malleys Monday, with another 300 people at The Hut, a new establishment just north of O'Malleys, Schuldt said.

Schuldt said some cash registers shorted out at O'Malleys when "fluids started getting launched" inside the bar.

"When I was in Kansas City during the Final Four, it was like this except multiplied by three or four times," he said.

Tom Clark, co-owner of Bison Witches Bar and Deli, 326 N. Fourth Ave., said there was no damage to his establishment, and in his opinion, it was everyone just having a good time.

He said that further north on Fourth Avenue, near East University Boulevard, he saw some broken windows and a vending machine in the street.

"I don't think people were out of hand," Clark said. "I was at the University of Kansas when they won in 1988, and it was the same way. Overall I was happy with the way people were celebrating."

While the bars were busy trying to keep near-capacity crowds in line, other merchants were watching the game somewhere else.

Georgeanna Kavanaugh, assistant manger at the Tucson Thrift Shop, 319 N. Fourth Ave., said she closed shop Monday at 6 p.m. and as of yesterday morning, the store was not damaged.

Jack King, owner of Gardening and More, the company that maintains Fourth Avenue's landscaping, said that of the 50 planters on Fourth Avenue, only two were knocked over. However, he said many flowers were trampled because people were standing in the planters.

He said there was only minimal damage to the area and added, "We're classier than that."

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