The big debate: Rio Nuevo reality checkby Paul Schwalbach on Nov. 28, 2007, under Opinion
‘Rio Nuevo is the equivalent of the emperor’s new clothes – a lot of money for nothing and everyone clapping like they can see it.’
The story: Downtown will be a “ghost town” unless Rio Nuevo’s movers and shakers radically change their way of thinking, says a former Smithsonian Institution official working with the revitalization project. Rio Nuevo mover and shaker Greg Shelko finds Margaret Pulles’ critique insulting.
Your take: Insulting, maybe, but accurate. Members of the Citizen’s online community feel that Rio Nuevo Director Shelko should listen and learn. “National- and international-level experience has dropped in your lap,” Michael R. says. Don C. congratulates Pulles for “having the gumption to speak the truth.”
Readers had plenty of unsolicited advice for fixing downtown, most of which could be boiled down to: shopping! Eddie K. says a Nordstrom is needed. Bob L. suggests modeling our downtown after Baltimore’s Inner Harbor district (minus the harbor, of course), which has a museum and plenty of shopping. “Downtown is . . . lacking a retail core,” he says.
Others wonder if anything can help. Michael W., a former Flandrau Planetarium employee who teaches at Pima Community College, doesn’t have high hopes for the planned University of Arizona Science Center, given that Flandrau has become a “rundown facility” that “has consistently suffered from (UA) indifference.”
And Fernando S., after seeing only three other people during a recent afternoon visit to the Tucson Children’s Museum, argues that “museums will not do the trick” and that “Rio Nowhere” should be abandoned.
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