Tucson CitizenTucson Citizen

Park Mall floor to hide time capsule until 2040

MICHAEL R. GRAHAM Citizen Staff Writer

From video game characters to local news, life in Tucson is being recorded by teens and will be sealed under the Park Mall center court in a time capsule to be unearthed in 2040.

For nearly three months, about 15 teens from the Volunteer Center of Tucson’s Youth Volunteer Corps have worked on the project.

With the help of Tucson Citizen reporters, the teens have researched and picked items to place in the capsule. The newspaper, Park Mall and the Volunteer Center of Tucson worked together to create the project.

Using reporter’s note pads, the kids are keeping journals of life in the Old Pueblo, as well as jotting down their fears, frustrations and likes.

The journals will be placed into the time capsule so Tucsonans in 2040 will have an idea of what Tucson was like at the end of the century.

”The time capsule project itself is an educational experience,” said Jennifer Soyka, director of Youth Connection, a component of the Volunteer Center that handles the youth programs.

”They’ve learned about the community, and they’ve focused on teens right here today,” Soyka said. ”This has given them a chance to think about our community and our future, and it’s given them a chance to think about where we will be in 2040 and where they will be in 2040.”

Thinking about the future, especially 40 years from now, can be overwhelming to today’s teens.

”I can’t even think that far ahead,” said Jeff Punske, 16, a Rincon High School junior who has worked on the project. ”I have no idea what life will be like then, but I hope it’s better than today.”

Teens in 2040 will have a pretty good idea what life was like in Tucson in 1999.

Included in the time capsule will be copies of the Dec. 31, 1999, editions of the Citizen and Arizona Daily Star, as well as the Jan. 1, 2000, editions of both papers.

A cellular telephone, a prom dress, an autographed copy of Dr. Andrew Weil’s book ”Eight Weeks to Optimum Health,” Beanie Babies, Pokémon cards, a bottle of Central Arizona Project water, photos and biographies of the teens working on the project, and aerial photos of Saguaro National Park and downtown Tucson will be included.

Genesis Short, 15, a sophomore attending Project MORE, an alternative high school in Tucson Unified School District, said it was her idea to put Weil’s book in the capsule.

”Healthy living is bigger than ever right now, and I thought it would be important to put into the capsule,” she said.

The project has helped Short, a Tucson native, appreciate Tucson more.

”This has been a way for me to get involved in the community,” Short said. ”It’s cool the Volunteer Center wants our input in the project, and I think it’s neat that youth can have a say in what’s going on.”

Involving teens was in the plan from the start.

”It has been an honor and a joy to work with the Youth Volunteer Corps and Park Mall in this project,” said Michael Limón, managing editor of the Tucson Citizen. ”The corps’ young people have taken the lead in bringing the time capsule together so that it can be shared with the community in the coming days and weeks, and with future generations 40 years from now.”

Barry O’Connor, general manager of Park Mall, which is being renovated and renamed Park Place, envisioned the time capsule.

He was trying to come up with a millennium project to coincide with the grand opening of the mall.

”During the brainstorming process the idea came up for a time capsule,” said O’Connor. ”I figure I probably won’t be around in 40 years so I thought we should get tomorrow’s leaders, which is today’s youth, involved.”

The 2-foot-tall plastic capsule is a foot in diameter and will be buried in the mall’s center court Jan. 8.

Organizers hope teens involved in the project will come back to the mall in 2040 with their children to help dig up the capsule.

Punske said he hopes to be around then.

”It’ll be one source for them (teens in 2040) to know what happened in the 1990s,” he said.

The capsule will be covered by a plaque.

”It’s being put somewhere where it’ll never be forgotten,” O’Connor said.

Michael R. Graham’s e-mail: mgraham@tucsoncitizen.com


Tomorrow, teens from the Volunteer Center of Tucson’s Youth Volunteer Corps will begin a campaign to ”send” a time capsule to 2040 with a center court ceremony at Park Mall.

The mall, being renovated and renamed Park Place, is at 5870 E. Broadway.

A ceremony will start at 1 p.m. tomorrow at the mall.

The project coincides with National Family Volunteering Day.

Youth Volunteer Corps members will be at the ceremony to talk with visitors about the capsule and accept donations of non-perishable food items for the Community Food Bank.


Todd Sadow, Chris Flynt, Jeff Punske and Bambie Davis (left to right) work on a time capsule that will take a bit of the 20th century into the 21st. The capsule will rest under the Park Mall center court.

Our Digital Archive

This blog page archives the entire digital archive of the Tucson Citizen from 1993 to 2009. It was gleaned from a database that was not intended to be displayed as a public web archive. Therefore, some of the text in some stories displays a little oddly. Also, this database did not contain any links to photos, so though the archive contains numerous captions for photos, there are no links to any of those photos.

There are more than 230,000 articles in this archive.

In TucsonCitizen.com Morgue, Part 1, we have preserved the Tucson Citizen newspaper's web archive from 2006 to 2009. To view those stories (all of which are duplicated here) go to Morgue Part 1

Search site | Terms of service