Armory Park, Gentrification, CBI, Crime, Board Elections

Updates from APNA President Anne Cooper:
1) Rio Nuevo and the city are actively looking at upgrading Armory Park back to its look from the 1940’s. More grass, a new band shell, and different seating. This is not a done deal and Fletcher McCusker of Rio Nuevo will have to work with the city on several issues. With this in mind, the idea is to create a more lively and active Armory Park. It is the only downtown park and has been a great resource for many activities throughout the years. Parking is and will be a problem and one that Rio Nuevo is aware of and is willing to work with us on. They are the group that created the parking system for the barrio near the Tucson Convention Center and have offered to promote a similar system for the Armory Park Neighborhood. More to come on this.
2) There was a gentrification seminar held last month in the Dunbar Springs neighborhood. Gentrification is a real issue for Tucson, especially with the development in downtown. It is not an easy issue, as many cities throughout the United States have been affected by it. How cities stay vibrant through development while keeping older, established communities affordable is a dilemma no one has fully tackled. There will be a symposium by the Southwest fair housing council on Oct 26th to start to address some of these issues. Further gentrification seminars will take place and I will keep you posted on their date/time and location.

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2019 Vacancies on APHZAB

Washington Park 1911Are you interested in helping maintain Armory Park’s historic character? The election of new Armory Park Historic Zone Advisory Board (APHZAB) members will occur at the next APNA general membership on 13 November. Members are elected, then nominated to Mayor and Council for approval for a four year term.

We anticipate the following number of APHZAB vacancies at the end of 2018:
– Property Owner: 2
– Resident: 2
– Special Qualifications (e.g. areas as archaeology, architecture, architectural history, local history, historic preservation law, landscape architecture, planning, construction, or other related field): 3

If you are interested, please let APHZAB Chair Martha McClements know in advance of the November meeting.

Barrio Historico Wins an Historic Appeal

Good news! Barrio Historico has won its appeal before Mayor and Council, rejecting a proposed townhouse development incompatible with its historic zone. (It’s Item #10 on the attached Legal Action Report.)

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“It was moved by Council Member Kozachik, duly seconded and PASSED by a roll call vote of 6 to 1 (Council Member Fimbres dissenting), to reverse the Planning and Development Services Department Director’s decision, grant the appeal and deny the HPZ application.

“Mr. Rankin noted that the basis of the motion, as provided in the Mayor and Council’s discussion, was that the application was not compatible with the purposes and standards of the HPZ and the applicable technical standards.”

May 22 Legal Action Report

Will the City Shrink Our Historic District?

REMINDER: The City is about to decide whether to rezone the property at 747 S 6th Ave and remove it from the Historic Preservation Zone (HPZ), in order to to permit the property owner to build a 48′ building on the site. If approved, this would be the first time a property has been removed from the Armory Park HPZ in its history. The City says this won’t set a precedent, but…

People interested in Armory Park’s future should consider attending the zoning hearing. The hearing is Thursday, May 3, at 6:00 PM in Mayor and Council Chambers at City Hall.

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Zoning Examiner’s Agenda May 3, 2018

Neighbors comments about our history

Armory Park neighbors history comments:

Railroad executives built homes, many of which are on each side of Railroad Street, and were built in the style of the East (Queen Anne, brick) to remind them of home, I suppose. They typically have two front doors, one for the family and the other for an office or for other executives who visited. My house has a dirt basement opening from the outside with ledges built in for the railroad workers to sleep where they would be cooler, if not very comfortable. –Nancy Myers

Our neighborhood developed and grew as a result of the railroad so there should be more of its history reflected in any art project depicting Armory Park. The Queen Anne style homes, Victorians, etc. were made possible because red brick and lumber was more plentiful now that the railroad came through here (1880). Folks could actually build their home with a peaked roof, wrap around porch and out materials other than adobe. In fact some of the existing adobe structures had porches added just to blend in to the “new” style of home sprouting up in the area. My own family worked for the Southern Pacific railroad for three generations starting with my grandfather (laborer) back in the early 1920s until retirement in the late 1940s, then my dad (mechanic/welder) from the late 1930s until he passed away in 1972. One of my cousins retired about ten years ago after a very successful run of about 30 plus years in sales for now the Union Pacific. 

Finding a home in Armory Park during housing shortages was quite the achievement and the motivations were: 1. proximity to work-the railroad yard on 22nd street and cherry/aviation was located at Toole as was the Round House (back in the day of steam engines and the tower previously located in what is now Armory Park del Sol. PFE (Pacific Fruit Express) also had a significant presence in the neighborhood.

2. Good school nearby–Safford still stands despite a shaky reputation in the 1950s and 1960s–much improved since I attended during that era and 

3. A Catholic Church –All Saints-now a condemned building on the southwest corner of 14th Street and 6th Ave.

Great place to grow up, to live, to retire, to enjoy all of Tucson’s vibrant offerings in art, history, nearby museums and educational institutions, spiritual development and continuing the welcoming spirit of the southwest. Oh, and the plethora of downtown restaurants, a new grocery store, and for the most part, good, solid decent neighbors. Now, bring on the retailers that were part of the history!

Julieta


The focus of Armory Park was, indeed, the SPRR after its arrival in 1880.  The maintenance yard was located where AP del Sol now is.  Homes of managers, on the east side of 3rd Ave., were torn down when the yard was moved eastward as downtown grew, so SP didn’t have to pay the high taxes on them.  Lower level staff & laborers lived in many of the small houses along the alleys (now dedicated avenues) & streets.  Many of the larger avenue houses (& even some smaller houses, like mine) have a second front (or other) door that led to a single room that was rented out to temporary/transient RR laborers.  There are also what used to be rooming houses for these workers

Continue reading “Neighbors comments about our history”