Guest Opinion: Nothing has changed in Tucson, unfortunatelyby Gregory Hickey on May. 16, 2008, under Opinion
Since leaving Tucson nearly 26 years ago for Oregon, I have returned several times a year to visit family.
Tucson remains a sprawling city, poorly planned, congested with traffic and angry drivers, with a dilapidated downtown and too few parks.
Little has changed, except the sprawl has grown like fungus in a petri dish, engulfing saguaro-studded hills in what once was some of the most beautiful desert in the world.
For instance, 25 miles east of downtown, all cactuses were removed, hills leveled, and Californiaesque two-story stucco houses were crammed onto postage stamp lots, while nearby to the south a lake was implanted.
Then there remains the stagnant downtown.
The Nov. 1 column by Mark Kimble (“Standing up for downtown”) says a report by Tucson Regional Economic Opportunities Inc. “identified the exodus of young people as a major economic drain.”
Tucson’s Young Professionals formed to address “a major problem for Tucson’s economic future: the tendency of young people to flee as soon as they graduate from the University of Arizona.”
Visiting Tucson in October and November, I was surprised to see such awful planning as to close off the entire interstate access to downtown.
Upon returning in March, it was even more surprising to see the exit obstructions remaining.
What is happening in downtown Tucson can be nothing other than planned destruction.
The new winter training ballpark was doomed to failure given the chosen location, and now Nimbus Brewery plans for downtown have been quashed by the city.
Tucson streets are riddled with potholes, reminiscent of some Third World countries. City planners really cannot be so incompetent. Can they?
A recent Tucson-area proposal leads one to wonder if powerful and corrupt authorities are still at work.
Do the people of Arizona want to destroy the San Pedro River Valley massive interstate bypass in one of the few remaining large riparian zones?
The proposal has been put on the back burner for now. But one thing you can count on in Arizona is that money rules.
Think of all the extra taxes that could be extracted from an instant new community between the Rincon Mountains and the Galiuros.
Sure, there is the initial cost of the infrastructure, but Arizona has a history of passing that off onto the taxpayers.
During the past decade, it has not been uncommon in California for a new town of 50,000 to spring up in the middle of nowhere, where there was no town before.
Just imagine “Carefree II” right on the other side of the Rincons, with a Castaic California-type residential area just outside of Benson.
Just build it, and they will come. I still have family friends in high places, and this is not a dead issue.
Former Tucsonan Gregory Hickey, MS Ed., is a retired senior deputy parole and probation officer now living in Selma, Ore. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org