City News

NewsNet 09-03-14

TUCSON POLICE DEPARTMENT (TPD) RECIPIENT OF STATE GRANTS TO BUY EQUIPMENT - More than $250,000 in grants from the Arizona Governor's Office Of Highway Safety (GOHS) helped TPD purchase six police motorcycles, two unmarked SUVs, 24 laser speed detection devices, and more. When combined with additional equipment and overtime funding for training, education and enforcement in the areas of speed, impaired driving, pedestrian and bicycle safety, and occupant protection, GOHS has provided more than $2 million in grant funding for Tucson over the last three years. In recognition of the efforts of GOHS and Director Alberto Gutier, the Tucson Police Department will hold a news conference tomorrow at 10 a.m. at the front entrance of the TPD's Traffic Division at 1310 West Miracle Mile. The items purchased with the grant funds will be on display. Read the news release, and visit the TPD Facebook page.

NEW PROGRAM IN TUCSON AIMED AT BOOSTING HOMEOWNERSHIP - A new program is offering $5.5 million to increase homeownership and strengthen neighborhoods in Tucson. Wells Fargo, NeighborWorks America®, the Primavera Foundation, Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild, and South Tucson Mayor Paul Diaz announced the Tucson NeighborhoodLIFT® program last month. Down payment assistance of $15,000 will be available for eligible homebuyers with annual incomes that do not exceed 120 percent of the Tucson area median income – about $68,400 for a family of four – with income maximums varying depending on family size and type of loan. Among other things, potential buyers must complete an eight-hour homebuyer education session with The Primavera Foundation or another HUD-approved counseling agency. Participants must commit to live in the home for five years and qualify for a first mortgage with any lender. The Tucson Wells Fargo  NeighborhoodLIFT® program begins with a free homebuyer event this Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., at the Tucson Convention Center. Pre-registration is closed, but walk-in appointments may be available. Read more from Market Watch/Wall Street Journal.

FEDERAL GRANT TO BOOST TUCSON'S RAIL CAPACITY - A $5 million grant to improve rail capabilities in Tucson has been awarded, a year after it was announced. A Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant - the same type of grant that also helped fund the Sun Link Tucson Streetcar - was awarded by the U.S. Department of Transportation to the Port of Tucson and Pima County. The money will fund a $13 million project to build an off-ramp for Union Pacific to enter the port without delaying other trains or motorists sitting at the Kolb Road railroad crossing, near Interstate 10. Pima County officials estimate the port could add up to 100 logistics jobs once the project is operational. Construction is expected to take about six months. Read more from the Arizona Daily Star.
 
TUCSON AMONG BEST CITIES FOR RETIREES - A new study by WalletHub, a personal finance website, finds Tucson to be the 24th best place for retirees among the nation's 150 largest cities. That puts Tucson ahead of Gilbert, Chandler, Glendale and Phoenix. The study praised Tucson for its affordability, nice weather, and quality of life issues of interest to seniors, including percentage of residents of retirement age who are still working, a low crime rate, and good air and water quality. Tucson also fared well in the category of activities, such as the number of recreation and senior centers, fishing facilities, and public golf courses. The report also says communities in Arizona, Florida and Texas benefit from good weather. Read more from Capitol Media Services via the Arizona Daily Star.
 
NEED HELP STARTING OR EXPANDING A BUSINESS IN TUCSON? CALL THE SMALL BUSINESS ASSISTANCE LINE - The City of Tucson's Small Business Assistance Line, (520) 837-4100, is available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Help is available in both English and Spanish. Staff from the City Manager's Office of Economic Initiatives answer the calls. The Small Business Assistance Line is one of a number of City initiatives, along with 21 new business incentives, streamlined permit processes and more, to make the City of Tucson more business-friendly.

NewsNet 09-03-14

AED SCAVENGER HUNT THROUGH THE END OF THE MONTH - Tucson and Pima County residents are invited to join a scavenger hunt for automated external defibrillators (AEDs) during September. The Tucson Fire Department and the University of Arizona Department of Emergency Medicine are hosting the HeartMap Tucson Challenge, an AED scavenger hunt that aims to raise awareness about AEDs and to a build a comprehensive database of where the devices are located. Registration for the challenge is open to individuals or teams. Prizes range from $50 to $5,000. AEDs are electronic, brief-case size devices designed to allow bystanders to help someone who has collapsed during a cardiac arrest prior to the arrival of emergency medical help.
 
FIRST DROWNING OF THE YEAR IN TUCSON OCCURRED ON LABOR DAY - A two-year-old boy died Monday, after he was found in a hot tub in the gated pool area of an apartment complex at the 4200 block of East Monte Vista Drive. Tucson Fire Department (TFD) personnel performed extensive resuscitative efforts on the scene and at the hospital, but the boy died at the hospital. TFD says the "ABCs" of drowning prevention are critical for everyone to know. "A" is for active adult supervision. "B" is for barriers, to make it difficult for children to get into water by accident. "C" is for CPR classes for adults and swimming lessons or classes for kids. Read more from the Arizona Daily Star, and watch a drowning prevention video from TFD's "Do Something" campaign, in collaboration with Tucson 12.
 
BABY ELEPHANT AT REID PARK ZOO IS TWO WEEKS OLD TODAY- It was a great gift for the City of Tucson on its birthday, Aug. 20, when Semba the African elephant gave birth to the first elephant calf ever born at the Reid Park Zoo. The birth also marked a milestone for the Zoo's two-year-old, seven-acre elephant exhibit, which was in built with breeding in mind. Take a journey back in time to relive the planning and building of Expedition Tanzania in a video from the Tucson 12 archives.
Tucson 12 recent video of baby elephant
Zoo Cams
Baby Elephant FAQ
Reid Park Zoo Flickr page
Reid Park Zoo Twitter
Reid Park Zoo Facebook
 
VOTER-APPROVED ROAD REPAIR WORK ON AJO WAY - Crews from Southern Arizona Paving and Construction Co., under contract with the City of Tucson Department of Transportation (TDOT), are working to improve the roadway conditions on Ajo Way from 14th Avenue to Bernard Drive and on Ajo Way from the Kino off-ramp to Country Club Road. The contract also calls for resurfacing Country Club Road 200 feet north and 200 feet south of Ajo. During the project, which began today, at least one lane of travel in each direction will be maintained. Work hours are 5:30 a.m. - 4 p.m., through Monday, Sept. 15. The pavement preservation project is part of the $100 million, five-year Road Recovery bond program. Read the news release.
Road Recovery Bond Program
Bond Oversight Commission Annual Report
 
SUNGO CARDS ACCEPTED ON BOTH SUN LINK STREETCAR AND SUN TRAN BUSES - The SunGO card is the best way to pay fares when riding public transit in Tucson. The card works on both the Sun Tran bus system and the Sun Link Tucson Streetcar. A SunGO card with unlimited rides for a month is just $42. If you're an occasional rider, you can load the SunGO card with a cash value to pay the $1.50 one-way fares whenever you use transit. In addition, there are many discounts available for students, low-income residents, senior and others. If you ride the streetcar, you must have a SunGO card, or purchase a day pass with cash or a credit card from a vending machine at the stop. Cash is not accepted on the streetcar.
How to Ride video for streetcar

Pantano Loop Construction - Broadway to Kenyon

Starting Monday, Sept. 8, 2014, Pima County Regional Flood Control District and its contractor, Clear Contracting Company, will begin construction of the Pantano Wash Project: Broadway Boulevard to Kenyon Drive.

The pathway is designated a major pathway for development of The Loop. The Loop is a system of more than 100 miles of shared-use paths designed to link Tucson with Marana, Oro Valley and South Tucson.

Ajo Way: Country Club Road to 14th Avenue Resurfacing Project

On Wednesday, September 3, 2014, crews from Southern Arizona Paving and Construction Co., under contract with the City of Tucson Department of Transportation (TDOT), will begin work to improve the roadway conditions on Ajo Way from 14th Avenue to Bernard Drive and on Ajo Way from the Kino off-ramp to Country Club Road. The contract also calls for resurfacing Country Club Road 200 feet north and 200 feet south of Ajo Way.

NewsNet 09-02-14

TCC ARENA IMPROVEMENTS NEARING COMPLETION: CELEBRATION PLANNED - The Rio Nuevo Board is hiring the Beach Boys to headline a grand reopening concert early next year to show off the $7.8 million improvement project at the Tucson Convention Center (TCC) arena. The board will pay the band $100,000 for a Jan. 3 concert. Work began on the TCC last March to replace seats, upgrade acoustics, renovate bathrooms and concession stands, add video scoreboards, as well as making other improvements. The work is scheduled to be completed by the end of the year. The concert isn’t designed to make money (at $25 a ticket), but to demonstrate to Tucsonans and the entertainment industry that the TCC has new life, said Rio Nuevo Chairman Fletcher McCusker. Read more from the Arizona Daily Star.

EYEWITNESS ACCOUNT OF ELEPHANT BIRTH - After 22 months of anticipation, Reid Park Zoo's African elephant Semba gave birth to her third calf almost two weeks ago, on Tucson's birthday. Zookeeper Mara Jameson was there to watch the birth of the healthy female. She recently shared her experience, in a video produced by Tucson 12. You can follow the calf's progress at the Reid Park Zoo and City of Tucson social media sites (links below).
Tucson 12 video of baby elephant
Zoo Cams
Baby Elephant FAQ
Reid Park Zoo Flickr page
Reid Park Zoo Twitter
Reid Park Zoo Facebook
City of Tucson Facebook
City of Tucson Twitter

UA STUDENT OFFERS FRESH PERSPECTIVE ON STREETCAR - Even though the Sun Link Tucson Streetcar has been running since July, University of Arizona students only recently discovered the new mode of travel, which runs through the heart of campus, 4th Avenue, downtown and the Mercado District, west of I-10. Plenty of students are finding the streetcar exciting, not only for transportation between housing and classes, but also as a travel option to food and entertainment spots not located directly on campus. One student recently wrote an Arizona Daily Wildcat opinion piece about the streetcar, saying it's "awesome."

TUCSON EXHIBIT CELEBRATES 150TH ANNIVERSARY OF ARIZONA HISTORICAL SOCIETY - Arizona Historical Society staff, volunteers, and board members have chosen 150 items from across the state that they feel best represent the history of Arizona. Items range from the artifacts of early settlers to more modern memorabilia. A small paper airplane on display dates from Charles Lindbergh's 1927 trip to Tucson to dedicate Davis-Monthan Airfield. The 150th anniversary exhibit opened Saturday at the Arizona History Museum, 949 E. 2nd Street, and will run through the rest of the year. Read more from Arizona Public Media.

GET THE LATEST NEWS AND INFORMATION ON FACEBOOK AND TWITTER - "Like" the City of Tucson on Facebook to get the latest news, community updates and fun facts about Tucson local government and our community. You can also "Follow" the City of Tucson on Twitter for timely, concise updates throughout the day.

NewsNet 08-29-14

MEXICAN BASEBALL RETURNING TO TUCSON -  The Mexican Baseball League says it will return to Kino Sports Complex for its fourth annual Vamos a Tucson Mexican Baseball Fiesta, Oct. 2-5. The tournament, sponsored Visit Tucson and Cox Communications, will feature eight games between some of the best and most popular professional baseball teams in Mexico. Visit Tucson reports last year's Mexican Baseball Fiesta generated nearly $350,000 for the Metro Tucson economy. Read more from Tucson News Now, and watch a 2011 video from Tucson 12 archives.

TRAFFIC ADVISORY: SIXTH STREET – CAMPBELL AVENUE TO COUNTRY CLUB ROAD - The City of Tucson Department of Transportation (TDOT) yesterday removed the barricades on Sixth Street, from Campbell Avenue to Country Club Road, and placed temporary striping to reopen the roadway to two lanes in each direction. Motorists are currently driving on the first layer of asphalt that was installed two weeks ago. The final paving will take place after TDOT staff completes quality control checks on that layer. The pavement preservation project is part of the $100 million, five-year Road Recovery bond program.
Bond Oversight Commission Annual Report

WEEKEND BEACH BASH TO MARK THE END OF SUMMER - The Downtown Tucson Partnership is hosting a seasonal sendoff tomorrow at the pop-up beach in the shadow of the MLK lot at One North Fifth downtown, near Hotel Congress. The free bash runs from 4 p.m.-1 a.m., featuring live music and plenty of activities for children. The YMCA and Children’s Museum Tucson will be on hand, as will several food trucks. The beach, which includes tons of trucked-in sand, palm trees, and artificial grass has been a popular gathering spot over the summer. Even though this weekend's party marks the unofficial end of summer, the beach will remain in place through the middle of September. The beach is easily accessible via the Sun Link Tucson Streetcar.

DISNEY ON ICE COMING TO TUCSON CONVENTION CENTER - Tickets went on sale this morning for "Disney On Ice: Let's Celebrate," Oct. 9 -12 at the Tucson Convention Center. Join Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse as they're joined by Alice and the Mad Hatter, Princess Tiana and Prince Naveen, Lilo & Stitch, and Woody, Jessie, and Buzz Lightyear. Princesses and villains will also be on hand, and there will be a medley of holidays, celebrations and festivals from around the globe. Tickets can be purchased at the TCC Box Office or online via Ticketmaster. See the links below.

TRASH AND RECYCLING COLLECTIONS DELAYED BY ONE DAY NEXT WEEK - Due to the Labor Day holiday Monday, residential and commercial trash and recycling will not be collected on Monday. All City of Tucson Environmental Services residential and commercial customers will have their trash and recycling service delayed by one day. In addition, the Los Reales Landfill and the Household Hazardous Waste Facility will be closed Monday.
Holiday collection schedules
Download the free ‘My Waste’™ app for collection schedules

Sixth Street - Campbell Avenue to Country Club Road Resurfacing Project Delayed

The City of Tucson Department of Transportation (TDOT) today removed the barricades on Sixth Street from Campbell Avenue to Country Club Road and placed temporary striping to reopen the roadway to two lanes in each direction. Motorists are currently driving on the first lift of asphalt that was installed two weeks ago. The final paving will take place after TDOT staff has completed its quality control checks.  

NewsNet 08-28-14

TRAFFIC ALERT: SOUTHBOUND 4TH AVENUE UNDERPASS CLOSURE - With the University of Arizona back in session and a football game tomorrow, traffic is expected to be heavy in the downtown area this weekend, so the City of Tucson Department of Transportation (TDOT) is not permitting southbound traffic through the 4th Avenue Underpass at 9th Street tonight through Sunday, from 9 p.m. - 2 a.m.

Fourth Avenue Underpass Southbound Lane Closure: Amended Start Time for Detour

The City of Tucson Department of Transportation (TDOT) will again close the southbound travel lane through the Fourth Avenue Underpass at Ninth Street. Last week’s traffic control change significantly decreased the gridlock at the Congress Street/Toole Avenue/Fourth Avenue intersection. Please note that the northbound travel lane through the underpass will remain open to all modes of travel. 

The southbound lane closure will take place on Thursday, August 28, Friday, August 29 and Saturday, August 30 from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. 

Fourth Avenue Underpass Southbound Lane Closure-Northbound Travel Lane Remains Open

The City of Tucson Department of Transportation (TDOT) will again close the southbound travel lane through the Fourth Avenue Underpass at Ninth Street. Last week’s traffic control change significantly decreased the gridlock at the Congress Street/Toole Avenue/Fourth Avenue intersection. Please note that the northbound travel lane through the underpass will remain open to all modes of travel. 

The southbound lane closure will take place on Thursday, August 28, Friday, August 29 and Saturday, August 30 from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. 

NewsNet 08-27-14

THE 2014 TUCSON GEM, MINERAL & FOSSIL SHOWCASE CREATED $120 MILLION IN DIRECT SPENDING - A new economic impact study of this year's Tucson Gem, Mineral & Fossil Showcase shows $120 million in direct spending by show owners, exhibitors and buyers - a 20 percent increase over the $100 million spent in 2007. FMR Associates in Tucson conducted the study in February and employed the same methodology it used in the previous gem show economic studies in 2000 and 2007. Studies are only conducted once every seven years. The primary objective of the studies is to measure the specific economic and tax revenue benefits for Tucson and Pima County. The Tucson Gem, Mineral & Fossil Showcase attracts tens of thousands of buyers, collectors, dealers, curators, and guests to Tucson each year. Dozens of shows are held at various locations. Next year's Gem, Mineral & Fossil Showcase is scheduled for Jan. 31 - Feb. 15. It will be the first year the Sun Link Tucson Streetcar will be in operation during the shows, which organizers say should boost attendance and create excitement about the success of Downtown Tucson. Watch Tucson 12 video about the latest study.
 
TUCSON POLICE DEPARTMENT (TPD) RECRUITING OFFICERS - TPD is looking for motivated and dedicated individuals to join its team. Successful candidates from this testing period will be considered for any funded academy class(es) within the next six months. Applications are being accepted through Sept. 14. Managing conflict is a regular part of the job, as is handling numerous physical and mental demands. Recruits must be a least 21-years-old when they graduate the academy, but the application process can begin at age 20. Learn more about TPD recruiting, and ride along with an officer who gives advice about joining TPD, from Tucson 12 archives.
 
NEW BABY ELEPHANT PHOTOS POSTED - Reid Park Zoo's week-old baby African elephant is doing well. The Zoo recently uploaded a series of new pictures to its Facebook page (link below). There's still no official word on when the baby will get a name, or when she will be on public exhibit, but you may be able to catch a live glimpse of her on the Zoo's webcam, or in the distance, in the early morning hours. You can also follow the calf's progress at the Reid Park Zoo and City of Tucson social media sites.
Reid Park Zoo Flickr page
Reid Park Zoo Twitter
Reid Park Zoo Facebook
City of Tucson Facebook
City of Tucson Twitter
 
TOMORROW IS THE DEADLINE TO SUBMIT REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS FOR REDEVELOPMENT OF TRANSIT CENTER - The City of Tucson is seeking a developer for a 4.7-acre site in the heart of downtown (Congress Street and Sixth Avenue) to create a multi-modal, mixed-use development incorporating a modern transit center. Adjacent to the Sun Link Tucson Streetcar line, the area currently consists of the Ronstadt Transit Center and two surface parking lots. More than $930 million in recent private and public investment - including new restaurants, shops, businesses, and housing - are near the site. Upcoming investments near the area include a grocery store, a new hotel, additional housing, and roadway improvements. The City’s goal is to transform the development site from a single-use transit center into a mixed-use development that contributes to an active, economically-robust downtown. Request for Proposals are due by 4 p.m. tomorrow. More information is available from the City of Tucson Office of Integrated Planning.
 
RIO NUEVO BOARD TO OPEN TALKS WITH DEVELOPER FOR PLANNED HOTEL PROJECT - The Rio Nuevo Board voted yesterday to formally enter negotiations with developer Allan Norville, of Nor-Generations, to possibly build a $100 million hotel project on 8.5 acres of Rio Nuevo land downtown. The site is along Granada Avenue, east of Interstate 10 and north of Cushing street, near the Tucson Convention Center. Norville’s plan - offering to pay $5.6 million for the land - calls for a 140-room hotel, a 96-unit apartment complex, a visual arts center, three museums, and a theater. Norville also says he'll build a 120,000-square-foot exhibition hall on his property adjacent to the Rio Nuevo land. If the two sides can’t settle on a deal, the board can negotiate with the other bidder, Ron Schwabe of Peach Properties. Read more from the Arizona Daily Star.

NewsNet 08-26-14

RIDE THE STREETCAR TO UA FOOTBALL GAME FRIDAY - University of Arizona football fans have a new transit option for this season’s UA home football games – the Sun Link Tucson Streetcar. Prior to the season's kickoff against UNLV Friday night, fans can experience the dining, entertainment, and retail opportunities at Main Gate Square, Fourth Avenue, Downtown Tucson, and the Mercado District, and then board the streetcar to the UA from any one of the 23 stops along the 3.9-mile route. Once on campus, Arizona Stadium is a short walk from the Second Street and Highland Avenue stop. Fans can also park in one of the many garages downtown and take the streetcar to the game to avoid UA congestion. Due to federal regulations, Sun Tran will not be running football shuttles this year, but the University of Arizona will offer a Cat Tran shuttle service from the Park Avenue Garage (at Speedway and Park) to Arizona Stadium on game days. The shuttles will drop off fans on 6th Street, immediately south of the stadium, beginning two hours prior to kick-off. Read more from the Arizona Daily Star.
City of Tucson Parkwise
UA Parking and Transportation football info
 
TUCSON STREETCAR COMPLETES FIRST MONTH OF SERVICE - It has been an exciting month since the Sun Link Tucson Streetcar began passenger service. It all began as federal partners gathered to share their excitement about the streetcar. After that, there was the ceremonial ribbon cutting, followed by the welcoming of passengers. If you haven't taken a ride on the streetcar yet, we'll tell you how in the special streetcar review edition of Tucson City News in Review, produced by Tucson 12.
 
FINAL PHASE OF DOWNTOWN LINKS PROJECT UNDERWAY - Demolition began yesterday on several state-owned warehouses at the intersection of Stone Avenue and Sixth Street in preparation of the third and final phase of the voter-approved Downtown Links roadway project, linking Interstate 10 to Broadway Boulevard. The initial plan for the project was issued decades ago from the Arizona Department of Transportation and encountered opposition at the time from neighbors and businesses, who claimed that it required the demolition of too many buildings. However, with RTA voter-approval and funding, the City of Tucson is managing the project now and has worked closely with a Citizen Advisory Committee to ensure that as few structures as possible are affected. Construction is expected to begin in early 2016 and will include a deck plaza, buffered bike paths, elevated pedestrian walkways, and a new four-lane road. Read more from the Arizona Daily Star.
 
VOTER-APPROVED ROAD REPAIR WORK ON SPEEDWAY - Crews from Southern Arizona Paving and Construction Co., under contract with the City of Tucson Department of Transportation (TDOT), are working to improve the roadway conditions on Speedway Boulevard, from Main Avenue to Second Avenue. Crews are lowering manhole and water valve covers through Friday, from 5 a.m. to 4 p.m. During the utility-lowering phase of the project, at least one lane of travel in each direction will be maintained. Beginning Tuesday, Sept. 2, crews will begin a milling (removing asphalt) and repaving Speedway. The milling and repaving is scheduled to be finished by Thursday, Sept. 11, 2014. Business and residential access will be maintained at all times. The pavement preservation project is part of the $100 million, five-year Road Recovery bond program.
Bond Oversight Commission Annual Report
 
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