-Doolen/Fruitvale Holiday Flea Market
-El Cortez Neighborhood “Walking Workshop”
-Small Business Development Workshop #4
-Third Saturday Art Fair
-Future Neighborhood Meetings
-Social Media for Business 101
-Stuff-the-Bus for Community Food Bank
-Golden Spike Ceremony at Toy Train Museum
-Alliance of Construction Trades and “Wounded Warrior Project” Golf Outing
- Did you know....?
In addition to the items that Mayor/Council addresses at our weekly meetings, countless City issues must be tackled directly through community effort. Thousands of Tucsonans devote endless hours of volunteer time toward the betterment of “our corner of the world.”
I recently joined one group of dedicated residents to celebrate a gift that their work has bestowed: The Keeling Neighborhood Desert Park. Located on the north side of Glenn Street between 1st and Stone, the sweet oasis features beautiful desert landscaping, children’s play equipment, unique garden sculptures, and comfy sitting spots. The park will be a stopping point for the planned Cyclovia route through Ward 3 in the spring, which is perfect since it’s close to the newly improved Fontana/4th Avenue bike boulevard. Many thanks to Tucson Clean and Beautiful and Tucson Parks and Rec for recognizing and supporting Keeling’s neighborhood enhancement, and special thanks to many area residents including Jane Evans, Nancy Reid, Tom Huels and Leslie Carlson (as well as the impressive group of young people who have worked on the project) for transforming blight into beauty.
My staff and I are thinking of organizing a full “Ward 3 Treasures Tour” to highlight this and many other community investments made by residents and businesses in recent years to uplift north-central Tucson. If you think of a project to feature (it’s going to be an amazing list!) please send a note to email@example.com or to Tamara.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Grant Road Corridor Planning
For several years another group of dedicated volunteers has helped to actively plan the Grant Road Corridor project in the Regional Transportation Plan. Key to the alignment that the Grant Road Citizens Task Force recommended are some forward-looking innovations:
- Roadway design that could shift corridor capacity from auto to transit uses as modes of transport evolve in Tucson
- “Michigan left turns” at intersections to improve safety, keep intersections narrower and more pedestrian and bicycle friendly, and at the same time improve traffic flow
- Desert landscaped, water-harvesting medians to replace the continuous asphalt center-turn lane and help mitigate flooding patterns along the route
Vice Mayor Kozachik and I have been working together with City staff and community members on a host of corridor questions that remain, most notably the budget (to ensure that all enhancements—including bus, bike, pedestrian and landscape improvements will be completed wherever construction occurs), the sequencing of construction, and the coordination of land use planning. It makes sense to both Vice Mayor Kozachik and me to sequence construction at/around key intersections first (e.g. Oracle, Stone, Alvernon) and to craft any infill overlays directly in conjunction with the corridor work at those intersection “nodes.” This approach would (1) prioritize completion of the highest-need hot spots in terms people flow, (2) demonstrate desired infill planning at already commercialized points, and (3) perhaps be more conducive to changes in use/development. We will be further vetting this approach with the Citizens Task Force and the wider community, as well as drawing lessons from the ongoing work on other corridors (Downtown Links, Streetcar Route, and Broadway Boulevard).
Poverty and Urban Stress
I moved to Tucson in 1993 to serve as CEO of the Primavera Foundation, a local nonprofit nationally recognized for its anti-poverty strategies. I soon joined the Boards of Directors of the Community Food Bank and Brewster Center Against Domestic Violence here, and in 2001, I founded the Southwest Center for Economic Integrity, a nonprofit research and advocacy agency known best for our successful statewide drive to end payday lending in Arizona. Needless to say I take earnest interest in the struggles of people living in poverty in Tucson.
Within the next few weeks Mayor/Council will discuss the 2012 update to the city Poverty and Urban Stress report. The local data document devastating trends that have coincided with the worst recession since the Great Depression. Unemployment jumped from 3.4% in 2007 to 9.4% in 2010 (8.4% as of August 2012) and poverty rose from 18.4% to 26.6% from 2007 to 2011. Because many of the high-stress areas lie within Wards 1, 3, and 5, Councilmembers Romero, Fimbres and I have championed efforts in recent years that make a difference to people in financial distress. To note just a few of those: we have advocated balanced budgets that do not impose a tax on renters (now imposed in the vast majority of Arizona’s cities); we have preserved the affordable after school program KIDCO for today’s working families while also setting it on a better financial footing for the future as well; we have sustained our investments in affordable, quality transit services for all, to help people get to jobs and take care of their families; and we’ve launched several initiatives to promote job growth and higher wages (primary jobs incentive program, reforms to increase local purchasing/contracting, creation of the Central Business District, and more).
My colleagues and I will advance additional measures over the coming months and recommend key objectives in our state/federal legislative agenda that can make a real difference for all Tucsonans. Poverty robs all of us of our community’s highest potential. It will take all of us, working together, to grow shared prosperity in its place.
Small Business Workshops Continue
Join us Wednesday night at 5:30pm at our Ward office (see Events below for details) for the next in our series of Small Biz Development workshops with the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and business development advisor Bill Roach. At this workshop, you will have the opportunity to identify marketing alternatives that target your kind of business, discover how to stage your growth funding, work together to apply Business Modeling strategies that best fit what you do, and be introduced to additional community services that are available to help you grow and manage your small business. I hope you’ll take advantage of this tremendous resource. Contact David in my office for more details.
While we often focus on the government and business sectors of the local economy, let’s not forget the extraordinary impact of the nonprofit sector in Tucson as well. Our unique cadre of nonprofit organizations mobilizes thousands of volunteers, tens of thousands of volunteer hours, and immense amounts of monetary support to help our neighbors in need and to make our community a better place to live. Thanks for being a part of our community’s spirit of compassion and generosity.
Ward 3 Events:
-Doolen/Fruitvale Holiday Flea Market – Saturday, December 1 from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Country Club to Palo Verde, Grant to Glenn. Twenty-four (24) households will be offering furniture, appliances, crafts, baked goods, plants, garden-related gifts and art—even dog sweaters! Pick up vendor map at the Sparkman Butterfly Garden, 2645 N. Sparkman Boulevard at 8:00 a.m. No early birds please. More info: 795-1512.
-El Cortez Neighborhood “Walking Workshop” – Saturday, December 1 from 9:00 a.m. to Noon. Donna Liggins Recreation Center, 2160 N. 6th Avenue, room 117. Join Living Streets Alliance and your neighbors for a walking workshop to explore opportunities of walking in the area. Living Streets Alliance is gathering data on neighborhood “walkability” to encourage improvement and participation. There will be group activities and an easy walk around the area. More info: www.livingstreetsalliance.org
-Small Business Development Workshop (No. 4 in the series) – Using Business Modeling to increase small business profits and growth. This session will be devoted to the “Business Development Model,” a how-to workgroup exercise in growth modeling. Determine your best business structure, marketing approach, and growth funding options. Workshop is open to all small business owners and entrepreneurs, and takes place from 5:30 to 8:30 PM on Wednesday, December 5th, at the Ward 3 Office, 1510 E Grant Rd. $25 Registration fee (payable to Tucson Hispanic Chamber) includes instruction, materials, and dinner too! To register, go to www.TucsonHispanicChamber.org and click on “RSVP Now!” More info: David Higuera in the Ward 3 Office, 791-4711.
-Third Saturday Art Sale – Saturday, December 15 from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Many Hands Courtyard, 3054 N. First Avenue. Craft classes, Mata Ortiz pottery sale, holiday gifts and live music. Shop Local! More info: 628-1490.
-Future Neighborhood Meetings:
Northwest NA – Wednesday, December 5 at 6:00 p.m. Donna Liggins Center, 2160 N. 6th Avenue.
City Wide Events:
-Social Media for Business 101 – Thursday, November 29 from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. Quincie Douglas Branch Library, 1585 E. 36th Street. Sponsored by Local First Arizona, this workshop is free and open to business owners in Tucson. You’ll learn how to grow a Facebook audience, market your business using social media and create interesting content that your customers will read. Space is limited - RSVP to Deanna at 520-333-2073 or Deanna@localfirstaz.com
-Stuff the Bus for Community Food Bank – Friday, November 30 from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Sun Tran, KGUN 9 and Brake Masters are partnering to sponsor this food drive to benefit the Tucson Community Food Bank. Non-perishable food items and/or monetary donations accepted all day. Canned soups, boxed cereals, peanut butter, and canned meats are in short supply and most appreciated.
-Golden Spike Ceremony at Toy Train Museum – Saturday, December 1 at 11:30 a.m. Gadsden Pacific Toy Train Museum, 3975 N. Miller Avenue. Event is celebrating the construction of more than 1,000 feet of track, completing the entire loop around the property. Ceremony is the interpretation of the Golden Spike ceremony that marked the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad in 1869. More info: www.gpdtoytrainmuseum.com/largescale_progress.htm
-Alliance of Construction Trades and “Wounded Warrior Project” Seeks Golfers – Friday, December 7 at the City Golf Course at Randolph Park. Annual tournament is a four-person scramble with shotgun start at 8:00 a.m. (Continental Breakfast at 7:00 a.m.) Proceeds benefit the Wounded Warrior Project and ACT Scholarship Fund. To sign up, fees and more information: www.actaz.net
Did You Know…?
..ZOOlights at the Reid Park Zoo will put you in the holiday spirit with jingle bells, twinkling lights, falling snow and animal-themed sculptures? Make this one of your Tucson holiday traditions and come to the zoo Thursdays through Sundays from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. December 1 to 9, every night from December 13-23. Admission is $6/adults, $4 for children. More info: www.tucsonzoo.org or 881-4753.