Karin's Note:  July 27, 2012

-Tucson Homeless Connect

-Dispose-a-Med Event Saturday

-Did you know....

Dear Tucsonans,

Make Way for Work, and Some Miracles

Yesterday morning I attended the groundbreaking for the improvements at the intersection of Grant and Oracle Roads. It’s heartening to see so many people hard at work in the jobs sparked by the project, and gratifying to see investment flow into a revitalization area I’ve been focusing on since 2006.

We’ve made tremendous progress in partnership with residents and businesses all along the Miracle Mile/Oracle corridor to transform blight and decay into vitality and renewal. Think about the notable public and private investments uplifting that path now:

On the north end of the Historic Miracle Mile Corridor:

  • Tucson Police Department West Division Substation;
  • Adjacent, TPD’s new state-of-the-art Crime Lab;
  • Historic Preservation and Adaptive Reuses of:
  • Ghost Ranch Lodge, now affordable senior housing;
  • Wayward Winds Motel, now home to the Gospel Rescue Mission;
  • Monterey Court Motel, now the Monterey Court Café and Shops!
  • Renovation of La Paloma Family Services building.

At the south end of the Historic Miracle Mile Corridor:

  • Significant renovations and upgrades at: College Place student housing, Executive Inn Suites, La Siesta Motorcourt Motel, Quail Inn Motorcourt Motel, and others;
  • The “Neon Art Walk” along Drachman on the PCC Downtown Campus.

All of this has been enhanced with key amenities throughout, including public art (who hasn’t seen the iconic neon saguaro?), vintage neon signage, new bus shelters, a beautiful community garden and park serving the Tucson House and Barrio Blue Moon, and more.

Public infrastructure projects, like the $7.5 million intersection improvements at Oracle and Grant, will help the flow of pedestrians, bicycles, buses and cars through the area, while improving safety and efficiency and cutting back on carbon dioxide pollution. It will bring better landscaping, wider sidewalks and bike lanes, enhanced bus shelters, more HAWK pedestrian signals and new public art. The “Michigan left” auto turn lane design will improve traffic flow and safety (learn more at http://www.grantroad.info/pdf/indirect_left_turn.pdf ). The specifics of the intersection were crafted with public input from residents and businesses, guided by a Citizens Task Force. Task Force member Susan Alexander, owner of Maggie Mays Tattoos, spoke at the groundbreaking and members Alice Roe, Joe Yee and Beverly Ruettinger also attended. I am so grateful to these and all our citizen volunteers who give of their time, energy and insights to help improve our city.

The intersection of Grant and Oracle holds special significance as it marks the middle of our designated revitalization area. Just as our work to date has replaced abandonment with investment, it’s worth reflecting on the assets and potentials at the center of the Miracle Mile/Oracle corridor.

To the southwest of Grant and Oracle lies Old Pascua, a unique satellite community of the Pascua Yaqui Tribe. The Pascua Yaqui/San Ignacio Council have made recent, significant investments in the area through their acquisition and operation of the neighborhood center, purchase of the adjacent closed-down theater complex, and leasing of the closed Richey Elementary school to operate a multi-purpose center and smaller school chartered by TUSD. We couldn’t ask for better partners than the Pascua Yaqui Tribe as we look toward the future.

To the northwest of the Grant and Oracle intersection, some treasures have drawn renewed interest. Take that sprawling, vacant Farmer John plant at Grant and Flowing Wells. The group leasing the facility in return for capital improvements has been hosting successful events (including the scariest Halloween Haunted House in town, no doubt) and has a vision for developing a robust music and performance venue over time. Throughout the commercial and industrial landscape along Grant between I-10 and Fairview there are employers who deserve community support. I visited recently with Southwest Truck Driver Training to thank their staff for their concerted effort to recruit, train and support veterans re-entering the workforce. And have you heard about PSE? Read this from their web site:

In 1982, PSE moved its entire operation - employees and all - to Tucson, Arizona, incorporaing the manufacturing and production in one location. As a sharp contrast to the modest 700 square foot original location, PSE's corporate offices, factory, and pro shop facilities practically fill an entire city block in central Tucson.

Archers can count on PSE to bring advanced manufacturing techniques to the industry. PSE was one of the first companies to machine bow risers and accessories from solid aluminum. PSE pioneered the four stage forging process for bow risers to create strong, lightweight bows.

PSE, as the industry's leading manufacturer, holds twenty patents for bow design and archery products. These improvements spread throughout the industry to everyone's benefit, not just PSE. "Research and development are the most expensive stages in manufacturing," Pete Shepley explains, "but we're committed to it and to making the whole industry grow, not just our slice of the pie."

The company is now nested in approximately 23,000 square feet of office space, and 120,000 square feet of manufacturing and warehouse space in beautiful Tucson, Arizona. As is tradition, incoming (raw materials) and out going (shipping) warehouses are located on opposite sides of the facility to streamline production.

Rumor has it that the Venezuelan Olympic archery team just trained at PSE! It’s clear that the company has helped place Tucson in the international spotlight for, along with bicycling and soccer, the great sport of archery. There are two renowned training schools at the site, just in case you’re ready to hone your skills for the 2016 Olympics!

To the northeast of Grant and Oracle--adjoining the great neighborhoods of Old Pascua, Miracle Manor and Flowing Wells--lies Balboa Heights. We just celebrated the opening of a new splash pad for children at the Marty Birdman Center there (it’s been drawing great crowds of kids for daily play ever since!). The Friends of the Marty Birdman Center and neighborhood leaders like Jane Baker have long called for the City to fight crime and seed well-being along Oracle. They deserve great credit for the progress so long in coming that we’re able to celebrate together now.

To the southeast of the intersection private companies have invested in their facilities in the hope that the City would indeed someday focus on uplifting the area. One highlight there is the beautiful headquarters of Living Interiors, an interior plant design and maintenance company. The company has not only invested directly, but also has supported the revitalization of the entire corridor by participating on the Citizen Steering Committee for our area revitalization initiative since the very beginning in 2006.

We no doubt still face challenges in the Miracle Mile/Oracle/Grant corridors. I look forward to updating you on how we tackle those challenges further over the coming year. In the meantime, please support the businesses impacted by construction at Grant and Oracle and all throughout the corridor. This is a special corner of our community that once was overrun by crime and decay. Kudos to everyone contributing to progress, now and in the future!

Next Mayor and Council Meeting

We’ll be meeting again on August 7th. More on that next week.

Read on for items of interest, and have a great weekend.

Karin

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Ward 3 Events:

- Dispose-a-Med Event – Saturday, July 28 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Super Target Store, 4040 N. Oracle Road. Safely dispose your outdated, unwanted prescriptions. Hosted by the Pima County Sheriff’s Department, Amistades Abuse Coalition, Flowing Wells NA and Community Coalition.

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City Wide Events:

 -Tucson Homeless Connect – Friday, July 27, 8:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Trinity Presbyterian Church, 400 E. University Blvd. One-day, one-stop event offering services to those in need. Clothing, health screenings, haircuts and more. Lunch served from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Nearest bus routes are: 1, 3 and 6. More info: www.tucsonhomelessconnect.org

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Did You Know…

….that Monterey Court, 505 W. Miracle Mile, hosts a Farmer’s Market on Thursday evenings from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday mornings from 8:00 a.m. to Noon. More info: 207-2429 ext. 3.

 …that there are 23 Olympians with ties to Southern Arizona who’ll begin competing this week in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London?