Ward 3 Council Office
Ward 3 Council Office
Sunday, March 20, 2016, from 1 to 3:30 p.m., hosted by Do Happy Today.
Limberlost Family Park (aka Don Hummel Park) is at 4255 N. 4th Ave./400 E. Limberlost Drive, between Stone Ave. and 1st Ave.
“Enjoy free fun for all ages, food and celebrate happiness, health and well-being for our 2nd year as part of the International Day of Happiness. Vice Mayor Karin Uhlich will read the City’s Proclamation at 2:00 p.m. and, throughout the event, you will experience the future vision (new Fengshui-designed walking path and Little Free Library) of an improved family and neighborhood park.”
Homeless Youth Project film – Tucson (from youtube.com)
About 70 people attended the premiere film screening today at Armory Park Center, 220 S. 5th Avenue of the new Homeless Youth Project film produced by Pan Left Productions and the Carlos G. Figueroa Foundation. I’ve posted above the URL link to this 30 minute film for viewers to see and share with others. M/C Brian Flagg of Casa Maria Kitchen encouraged everyone present to continue to support the good work done by several agencies in town:
Our Family, Youth on Their Own (YOTO), Tucson Youth Development, Wingspan, Primavera, many of which had tables at this event. There was also a table with B/W photos entitled “The Forgotten Ones” of homeless individuals/camps taken by Master Photographer Anselmo Rascon, who was present.
Ward 3 Councilmember Karin Uhlich welcomed everyone and said that more needs to be done in helping the poor and homeless in Tucson, that we need to “listen to the poor, homeless” because we are “not doing enough”.
More than 90 days have passed since the Tucson City Council voted to begin a 60-90 day public comment period to gather information and ideas related to the proposed re-development of the Ronstadt Transit Center. During that time, the Tucson Bus Riders Union held a public forum at the Rialto, compiled and organized hundreds written comments collected at the forum, met with City Councilwoman Karin Uhlich, and participated in collecting 2800 surveys from bus riders.
What has Corky Poster done? Poster is the architect and planner who was City Council hired to gather the public input. Rumor has it that Poster has held eight “stakeholder” meetings in recent weeks. With the information gathered at those meetings, he has compiled a report outlining consensus goals and objectives and said report was to be delivered to the City Manager’s office last week before Poster left town on vacation. More photos and details on the secret public process and who the real stakeholders are after the jump.
According to activist Suzanne Schafer, Poster has met with the Bus Riders Union (at the big April 2 meeting at the Rialto); the Downtown Neighborhoods and Residents Council; the Tucson-Pima Historical Commission; “real estate advisers” (not much detail who that was); the Mayor and Council’s transit task force; “the immediate neighbors,” meaning adjacent property owners (like developers Madden and Stiteler); Parkwise; and the Downtown Tucson Partnership board of directors.
What you didn’t get an invitation to a stakeholder meeting, and you didn’t see any meeting announcements in the mainstream news? Neither did I. Except for the April 2 public forum and what you have read on this blog, there has been a news blackout on this “public” process. Neither the Sun Tran bus riders survey results nor the public forum comments were ever released to the public– except for on this blog– and Poster’s stakeholder meetings were not publicized.
At the forum that was public, there was a clear consensus from the speeches and the comment cards that the public wants the Ronstadt Transit Center to remain intact, to remain on Congress Street downtown, and to be improved as a community gathering space. What was the big issue for bus riders? Better bathrooms, lighting, electrical outlets, shade, and people in the kiosks who can answer questions and sell passes– pretty simple stuff. No one said they wanted to have a maxi-dorm built on top of the Ronstadt, no one said the Ronstadt’s Congress Street frontage should be developed as another bar/restaurant, and no one said the buses should move out of downtown.
The people said they wanted a community space with picnic tables and maybe a little play ground for their kids– a place where they could relax and chat while they wait for the bus. As you can see in the picture here, there is plenty of room for this.
Recent “improvements” to the Ronstadt runs counter to the community gathering space that the people said they want.
According to the city, nearly $3 million in federal funds have been spent on directional signage, lighting, “decorative fencing”, surveillance equipment, and paver replacement.
What we got was a giant no trespassing sign at the entrance, barricade style fencing to control the populace and prohibit seating, and replacement of the decorative brick with dirt-colored rocks. They spent taxpayer money to make the Ronstadt less inviting. When and how were these improvements decided upon?
The lack of transparency in the public process and in the recent improvements is concerning. The citizens of Tucson are being kept in the dark. We need sunshine on this “public” process.
Ironically, this struggle between the community and developers over the Ronstadt Transit Center is playing out at the same time as West Side residents battle with the city and developers over the fate of El Rio golf course. Will the City Council side with citizens who want open space and community gathering places — downtown and on the West Side– or will they side with business interests? Only time will tell.
There are plenty of dirt lots and run-down buildings aroudn town that could be developed. Why do they need to take our public spaces?
Dancers perform at the Ronstadt Transit Center in 2009.
Unwelcoming sign greets people entering the Ronstadt Transit Center. After $3 million in improvements to the transit center, the clock still doesn’t work. (When you’re a bus rider, it’s really important to know the time.)
Decorative brick at the Ronstadt– where dancers once performed– has been replaced with rocks. New barricade fencing prohibits people from sitting on the short walls in the shade.