-1st Saturday: Campfire Sing-along

-Conversation Neighborhoods on Plan Tucson With City Staff

-Tucson Police Department Hosting Community Crime Fair

-3rd Saturday Art Fair

-Future Neighborhood Meeting

-59th Annual Gem, Mineral and Fossil Show Kicks Off This Weekend!

 -88th Annual La Fiesta de los Vaqueros

- Did you know....?

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Dear Tucsonans,

Investment Momentum

Some of the good news in our City lately centers in the downtown. Enormous investment has been leveraged with the coming of the streetcar that will link the University, Fourth Avenue, and the entire downtown all the way west to the new Mercado development. Companies like TEP/UniSource, Providence Service Corporation, Madden Media, and MEB Management Services have moved their headquarters into downtown, keeping the streets lively throughout the week. Students, senior citizens, and working people with modest incomes now live along the route, joining residents in area neighborhoods who have access to the exciting, expanded mix of restaurants, retail and entertainment venues that have developed over the past few years.

That growing level of investment sparks even more interest from the private sector; more good news. One site considered especially attractive is the Ronstadt Transit Center at Congress/6th and adjoining vacant lots to the north.

Fortunately the City has learned from past mistakes in exploring public-private partnerships that lead to investment and development. First, it’s up to elected leaders to help bring potentially conflicting groups and interests to the table so investors don’t get caught in controversy that can stall their plans. Second, while constituencies here can be effective in digging into polarized debate, letting economic opportunities wither hurts everyone in the long run so finding common ground must be our goal. And third, open and honest process matters in reaching that common ground needed to attract and shape new, valuable projects.

I say all that because for the past few months I have been meeting with different groups with a vested interest in the future of the Ronstadt Transit Center (RTC) area. Adjacent property owners, the broader downtown community, area residents, and transit riders from throughout the City/region will be impacted by our decisions if we opt to allow a project at this location. While at first it was difficult to imagine a path forward of mutual benefit, thanks to the many people working through concerns I think we have found that path.

I have requested an item on Tuesday’s Mayor and Council Study Session so that the City Manager’s staff and I can brief colleagues and the public on the dialogue to date. I will also recommend a next step on Tuesday which I believe will help us 1) solicit earnest intentions for investment and development, and 2) honor an established vision and set of goals/parameters for the site, set by Mayor/Council with input from the range of stakeholders and appropriate public input.

I can say in general that our common ground will likely embrace the principles applied in countless successful, Transit Oriented Development projects across the country and around the world. The greatest examples integrate features of benefit to project residents/customers as well as transit riders (many people can end up, of course, being both). Some become iconic destinations with unique open space and/or multimodal elements. Our best way of finding out what’s truly possible will be to adopt the vision/parameters best for Tucson and then invite private sector partners to offer their concepts and qualifications in response. I am confident we will attract project ideas that will enable us to sustain and even enhance transit services while adding to the vibrant mix of downtown Tucson. Special thanks to the people who have been at the table with me and my staff to help build such common ground and opportunity.

Grant Road Corridor

Last year I requested that the land use planning/overlay process for the Grant Road Corridor be paused so we could address serious confusion and concern about the initial draft report. Quite honestly I think part of the problem had to do with backlash resulting from the Main Gate Overlay process and outcome.

Recently Councilmember Kozachik and I have met with the staff and consultants involved with Grant Road planning as well as area residents and businesses. After hearing from those involved and affected Councilmember Kozachik and I have recommended that, rather than attempting to adopt a single overlay for the entire length of the Grant Road Corridor (from Oracle Road to Swan Road), that overlays be developed coinciding with the phases of construction planned for the corridor. That puts the segment from Oracle Road to First Ave up front, as construction has already begun. Starting with this segment will provide an example of what benefits as well as appropriate protections can be realized through an overlay. The process will be public and my office will help publicize all opportunities for participation.

Eggstravaganza

I was sorely disappointed to learn that our Parks Department moved the annual, spring Eggstravaganza event from the Donna Liggins Center in NW Tucson to Reid Park. My concern centers on the history and significance of the event to families in the surrounding neighborhoods (attendance has swelled from a few families to over 1,000 last year!).

 I learned of the change too late to request reconsideration by Parks and Rec staff, and have therefore requested that major events continue to be held across the city to provide fair access. The primary Halloween event was held at the Clements Center (SE), Family Fun Day is held at Reid Park (central), the Eggstravaganza was held for years at Liggins Center (NW)….you get the idea. I will ask my colleagues on the Mayor and Council to work in partnership with the City Manager and Parks Director Fred Gray to be sure we’re giving residents across Tucson access to these significant types of City-sponsored events. In the meantime we will work with the Parks Department to enroll NW residents in the shuttle service that will be offered from the NW Center to the Reid Park location so as few families as possible miss out!

Karin

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Ward 3 Events:

-1st Saturday: Campfire Sing-along – Saturday, February 2 from 4:00 – 7:00 p.m. Valley of the Moon, 2544 E. Allen Road.  Come and enjoy songs and stories with music from the Beatles, Paul Simon and Peter, Paul and Mary. Acoustic instruments are welcome and encouraged.  Marshmallows and hot chocolate. Free Admission, donations appreciated. More info: 323-1331.

-Conversation For Neighborhoods on Plan Tucson – Saturday, February 9 from 10:00 – 11:30 a.m. Ward 3 Council Office Community Room, 1510 E. Grant Road. City staff will give an overview and discuss the implementation of Plan Tucson. There will also be a Q & A period. The Draft Plan Tucson may be viewed online at www.tucsonaz.gov/plantucson or at any of the Ward Offices. If you would like further information, please call Rebecca Ruopp at 837-6973 or email: plantucson@tucsonaz.gov

-Tucson Police Department Hosting Community Crime Fair – Saturday, February 9 from 1:00 – 4:00 p.m. Donna Liggins Neighborhood Center, 2160 N. 6th Avenue. Join in to receive information and resources on keeping your neighborhood/community safe. More info: Officers Golden or Jones (Westside Operations) at 791-4467.

-3rd Saturday Art Fair – Saturday, February 16 from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Many Hands Courtyard, 3054 N. First Avenue. Vendors, shops, galleries have unique fine art and craft items for purchase (Shop Local!). Food from Asian Bistro (at special 3rd Saturday prices) along with hot coffee, tea, popcorn and cake. Live music and free parking. More info: www.manyhandscourtyard.com

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Future Neighborhood Meetings:

 Coronado Heights NA – Tuesday, February 5 at 6:30 p.m. Glenstone Village Apartments, 2835 N. Stone Avenue.

Northwest NA – Wednesday, February 6 at 6:00 p.m. Donna Liggins Neighborhood Center, 2160 N. 6th Avenue.

Feldman NA – Thursday, February 7 at 7:00 p.m. St. Luke’s Home, 615 E. Adams.

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City Wide Events:

-59th Annual Gem, Mineral and Fossil Show – Saturday, February 2 – Sunday, February 17. There are 40 venues throughout the City of Tucson. The “Main Show” at the Tucson Convention Center will be held February 14 – 17.More info:  http://www.tucsonshowguide.com/  In addition, the City of Tucson’s ParkWise is offering “GemRide” shuttles to connect to downtown venues. Three passenger vans will run continuously on a route from 7:00 a.m to 6:00 p.m. February 2 to 17th. For parking and riding info: http://cms3.tucsonaz.gov/parkwise/gemshowparking

 -88th Annual La Fiesta de los Vaqueros-Tucson Rodeo-February 16 – 24th. Gabby Giffords and Mark Kelly will be the Grand Marshalls for the Rodeo Parade on Thursday, February 21. For info and schedule of events: http://www.tucsonrodeo.com/home.html

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 -Did you know….?

 …that the City of Tucson, Office of Conservation and Sustainable Development, is once again offering “Trim Your Energy Waist Line” workshops? You can save up to 25% on your home energy bill and learn to be more energy efficient. For more information: Irene Ogata at Irene.ogata@tucsonaz.gov or 857-6960.

..that Iskashitaa Refuge Network is in need of your unwanted fruit? Not all citrus was destroyed in the latest cold snap, and volunteers will pick up, harvest and distribute your fruit. Good opportunity to feed families in need in the community. Contact Barbara at 440-0100 or email: harvesting@iskashitaa.org. More info available at www.HarbestTucson.org

…Did you know that the City of Tucson now has an online Business Incentives Map called ZoomBiz to provide more services and information to the citizens and businesses in the city?  If you are interested in starting a new business or relocating an existing business in Tucson, ZoomBiz can provide some answers.  If you have a location and need to know the zoning on it, ZoomBiz can help with that too.  If you want to know about available financial, zoning, or development incentives for a particular property, just punch your address into ZoomBiz.  The GIS (Geographic Information Systems) Services Division of the City's Department of Information Technology developed ZoomBiz using a new GIS infrastructure, which supports the creation of more intuitive, easier to use map applications. Try your address at http://maps.tucsonaz.gov/zoombiz/ now.