Joggers, bicyclists and other outdoors enthusiasts might soon have company when they’re on the Rillito River Park portion of The Loop.
The Pima County Natural Resources, Parks and Recreation department is about to launch a six-month pilot program that will allow vendors to set up at any one of five designated locations along the popular trail.
The businesses will be allowed to sell anything from T-shirts to Sonoran hot dogs and ice cream, although there are insurance requirements for potential food vendors.
The designated sites are away from the path, but close enough for vendors to be seen by path users.
That means walkers, joggers and bicyclists won’t have to dodge T-shirt vendors, but will have to walk farther if they’re tempted interrupt their exercise to grab a hot dog.
There also could be vendors that rent bicycles or sell water and healthier foods.
Motorized vendors, such as food trucks, will not be allowed.
Prospective vendors will have to pay $100 per month for each site where they’re located.
Registration is good for only one month at a time.
The registration period will open on the 20th of each month.
The department began accepting registration forms Monday and will allow approved vendors to begin selling their wares on Thursday.
Vendors will be approved on a first- come, first-served basis, said Valerie Samoy, special staff assistant for the department.
One vendor, who would sell water, juice, ice cream and other items, has already inquired, Samoy said.
“It will be interesting to see what types of vendors take advantage,” she said.
Vendors have been inquiring for the last couple of years about opportunities to set up businesses selling food and other items along The Loop, she said.
Department officials began pushing forward with the idea at the beginning of the year, developing the program and evaluating potential sites.
“We see it as a way to bring more attention and exposure to The Loop,” Samoy said. “People have mentioned they would like to see a variety of things along The Loop.”