Norris Design. Tucson, Arizona, Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning

$1 Million for Streetscapes in Tucson

October 1, 2014

From Tucson News Now,
By Bud Foster

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

When the city of Tucson and Rio Nuevo settled their differences and buried the hatchet a year ago, the settlement included a million dollars for streetscapes and other things to make downtown look "prettier."

And there are a lot of places downtown which need the proverbial new coat of paint.

"We have so many areas downtown that need to be upgraded and improved on," says Michael Keith, CEO of the Downtown Tucson Partnership, which will handle the projects and likely the money. "We need shade, we need trees, we need flowers, we need benches."

That's a lot of need.

Downtown has been thriving economically but not aesthetically.

"They should go hand in hand," says Ward VI city council member Steve Kozachik, who is urging the city to step aside and let Rio Nuevo and the Partnership do the heavy lifting.

However, during the monthly Rio Nuevo meeting, it became apparent its going to be a triangular agreement among the three.

While the Partnership has the skills to get the job done, the city has the procurement process which will likely hold down costs and stretch the million dollars a bit further. Rio Nuevo has the money.

There doesn't seem to be any opposition to the plans but the board put off a decision for two weeks to make sure all the details are worked out.

Why is it so important?

"People will spend more time here, spend more money here, they will support downtown businesses," says Keith.

Studies show people are more like to invest, be it money or time, in a place where they are comfortable. And pretty tops the list.

The plans will begin on Scott from Broadway to Alemeda.

"It's undergrounding utilities, it's shade structures, it is the trees, it is new paving, new hardscape, it's new bike corrals," says Kozachik. "Theres a lot There'soing on that planting a few trees."

Here are some of the before and after pictures on Scott, including the Wig O Rama building.

"We're going to have a more beautiful, dynamic and interesting downtown," Keith says. "It'll pay off on the tourism side as well."

That's the key words here, pay off.