Candlelight vigil: Save historic Tucson from the scourge of mini-dorms (video)by Pamela Powers Hannley on Jan. 04, 2011, under Arizona, Arizona Legislature, Bob Walkup, City Council, downtown, economy, education, environment, Historic architecture, Karin Ulich, Regina Romero, Richard Fimbres, Steve Kozachik, sustainability, Tucson
What makes Tucson unique compared to other southwestern cities?
The weather? Nope, Phoenix, Palm Springs, Mesa, Tempe, Scottsdale, Sedona, Albuquerque — all have basically the same weather.
The mountains? Nope, these other southwestern cities have mountain vistas.
The desert vegetation? Nope.
Blue skies and little rain? Nope.
The music and art scene? Well, yes, Tucson has an awesome music and art scene that these other cities don’t have.
Two local developers– Michael Goodman and Richard Studwell– want Tucson’s historic neighborhoods to look more like generic Maricopa County. They have been working hard to destroy Tucson’s historic architecture and transform historic neighborhoods near the University of Arizona into poorly-built, mini-dorm ghettos.
The Feldman Neighborhood, which is on the National Registry of Historic Places, has been fighting these two — particularly Goodman– over every demolition. Basically, he could not care less whether he tears down an architecturally significant home to build a mini-dorm monument to ticky tacky. Goodman has leveled entire blocks of old house and old vegetation to build mini-dorms. It’s all about making a fast buck.
I have four questions for these short-sighted developers, the Arizona Legislature, the University of Arizona, and the Mayor and Council who have allowed developers to destroy our architectural history:
- What will these areas look like in 10 years? Mini-dorms are not built to last– unlike the 70- 100-year-old houses they are replacing. What will the city do with neighborhoods of crumbling ticky-tacky?
- How many mini-dorms does the UA need to house students? Seriously, I would think at some point the market will be saturated with this type of housing. Then what do we do with these architectural monstrosities?
- If the UA enrollment has increased so much, why has the state not built more dormitories? The state gets the tuition money + living expenses for students who live in the dorms. I doubt that the UA enrollment has increased as much as the developers say. This data from the UA website show enrollment at 37, 217; the UA enrollment has hovered around 30,000 for decades.
- Why must historic homes be destroyed to build high-density housing? Tucson has plenty of vacant lots and crumbling commercial properties everywhere, particularly on main arterials.
Recently, Goodman has moved into the Jefferson Park Neighborhood, which is less organized than Feldman. The latest victim is the bungalow at 1036 E. Waverly St., which at the time of this writing has been partially destroyed.
But the Jefferson Park neighbors are beginning to fight back. This Friday evening, January 7, at 6:30 p.m. in front of 1036 E. Waverly, they are holding a candlelight vigil. Everyone is welcome. Please bring candles or flashlights, signs, bagpipes or other musical instruments.
Let’s preserve historic Tucson before it disappears.
P.S. This is not an issue of neighbors vs students. This is an issue of wise development vs destroying history to make a fast buck.