March 4, 2012

Mayor’s Update – March 4, 2012


Mayor’s Update
Tucson, Arizona March 4, 2012


Help Bring Back the Splash
Click for more info, or to donate online. #180DayPlan  Last week’s press conference highlighted a new public/private partnership between the City of Tucson Parks and Recreation Department, the non-profit Tucson Parks Foundation, the local business community and the public. The program is Bring Back the Splashand its goal is to open up to 11 closed city pools this summer.When the economic downturn hit, the City of Tucson was able to open just 9 of its 27 pools. Thanks to Bring Back the Splash, we’ll be able to open at least 5 of the 11 closed pools – Jacobs, Purple Heart, Menlo, Mansfield, Palo Verde – and we are halfway to opening a 6th pool: the pool at Himmel Park. Additional funding will open additional pools: Escalante, Kennedy, Jesse Owens, Freedom and Mission Manor.

City pools are important. Children learn to swim; teenagers learn to lifeguard and families cool off in the sweltering summer heat at Tucson’s city pools. They’re a place to go, have fun and be safe.

There is still time to sponsor a pool or a swimmer. Contact the Tucson Parks and Recreation Department at (520) 791-4873 for information on sponsoring a pool. To sponsor a swimmer, you can give online here.

Many, many thanks to our donors, who include (to date):

Catalina Rotary $25,000

Nova Home Loans $10,000

Jim Click Automotive Group, Royal Automotive Group, Lexus of Tucson and Watson Chevrolet $35,000

Pima Medical Institute $15,000

Many thanks also to Doug Martin, Rick Stertz and Crissy Ahmann, who created Public Service Announcements to promote the program. And thanks, of course, to the Tucson Parks Foundation, an all-volunteer non-profit whose sole beneficiary is the Tucson Parks and Recreation Department. The Parks Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization, so donors may receive a tax deduction for their gift.

Thanks also to Council Member Richard Fimbres. While I was campaigning on public/private partnerships and opening city pools, Council Member Fimbres brought the matter forward at the City Council.

I look forward to working to find more creative ways we can partner with the business community and the public to support programs that make a difference. Public/private partnerships strengthen our city and I am pleased to see this one off to a good start.

Holding weekly press conferences, establishing public/private partnerships, and keeping Tucson Parks and Recreation facilities and programs open and available are part of the Mayor’s 180 Day Work Plan.

Tucson Homeless Connect
City of Tucson staff working at Tucson Homeless Connect: click for higher resolution.Last week, another public/private partnership – a coalition of non-profit and government organizations, along with local businesses – held the semi-annual Tucson Homeless Connect at Trinity Presbyterian Church on University and 4th.Homeless Connect is a national effort to provide one-stop services for the homeless population: legal, housing, employment, medical and behavioral health care, pet care – even a haircut.

The photo shows City of Tucson employees working at the event, which is coordinated by the Tucson Pima Collaboration to End Homelessness.

I was pleased to see the many dozens of volunteers at this event. Having volunteered with Operation Deep Freeze for over a decade, I know that homelessness is a complex problem. Coordination and collaboration between government and non-profit service providers, and our legal system, is essential for progress to occur.

Wildcats at Hi Corbett, Major League Soccer at Kino
Hi Corbett locker room: click for higher resolution. #180DayPlan Along with former Mayor Bob Walkup, I was honored to throw out the first pitch at Hi Corbett Field on Sunday of opening weekend. The Wildcats went on to a series win against North Dakota – go Cats!While the game got underway, we took a tour of the locker room and training facilities – joined by University of Arizona Director of Athletics Greg Byrne and Council Member Shirley Scott. As you can see in the photo, Hi Corbett has already had some university rebranding.

The Wildcats are happy to be at Hi Corbett, a major league facility, and the city is happy to have them there. With attendance for opening weekend at 8,870 – almost a quarter what it was for last year’s entire season, according to the Arizona Daily Wildcat – the partnership appears headed for success. Thanks to both City of Tucson and U of A staff for making this happen.

Later that week, Major League Soccer brought spring training to Kino Sports Complex with the Desert Diamond Cup. The two-week tournament drew thousands from Tucson, Arizona, New Mexico and Mexico to watch stars like David Beckham and Thierry Henry.

At the kickoff dinner for the tournament, I expressed my support for bringing Major League Soccer to Tucson. Soccer and Tucson are a near-perfect match. We have the facilities. We have the weather. We have the fan base. We have the location – between Mexico and Phoenix. And Major League Soccer, for its part, appreciates what Tucson has to offer.

Thanks to Council Member Paul Cunningham and Pima County Supervisor Richard Elías for their leadership in bringing Major League Soccer to Tucson. For my part, I am happy to join them, the City Council, the Board of Supervisors and city and county staff in working to strengthen the relationship between Tucson and Major League Soccer.

Retaining existing employers and recruiting new employers are part of the Mayor’s 180 Day Work Plan.

FBI Tucson facility dedication
FBI Tucson FacilityI attended the dedication of the FBI’snew Tucson facility in the Rio Nuevo District last week, along with Council Member Regina Romero.The site previously served as a landfill. Prior to the state’s takeover of the Rio Nuevo board, funds from the TIF were used for remediation so that development could occur.

The building consolidates FBI operations previously housed at three separate locations. Over 100 agents and staff will work at the facility, which is near the Modern Streetcar line.

A vibrant downtown needs people living and working nearby in order to sustain shops, restaurants and entertainment. And professional offices are the type of business that belongs in a downtown.

It is a beautiful building, built to at least LEED Gold standards. Along with TPD’s Crime Lab and Sun Tran’s Northwest Bus Facility, the new FBI Tucson facility is another showcase of “green” commercial architecture. As more of these buildings are built, local contractors and subcontractors gain experience with green technologies and materials – and local businesses and homeowners see and hear about their benefits.

As I said at the dedication, this is the right development, in the right place, at the right time. Welcome to downtown.

Warehouse Arts District tour with NEA Chairman
Steinfeld Warehouse: click for higher resolution.I joined Warehouse Arts Management Organization (WAMO) President Liz Burden, Tucson Pima Arts  Council(TPAC) Executive Director Roberto Bedoya and special guest National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Chairman Rocco Landesman for a walking tour of the Historic Warehouse Arts District last week.TPAC, which is Tucson and Pima County’s designated arts agency, received a $100,000 grant from the NEA as part of their national Our Town Initiative. The grant will inventory cultural assets in the Warehouse District.

Chairman Landesman reminded us that federal funding for the arts is available through agencies other than the NEA. For example, the U.S. Department of Transportation funds public art through its Transportation Enhancements program.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program is another example. In fact, WAMO is using CDBG funding to restore the Steinfeld Warehouse, shown in the photo. Bringing this fragile structure back is a major undertaking. I look forward to seeing the work completed and having the Steinfeld Warehouse anchor the west end of the Historic Warehouse Arts District.


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