NewsNet - 2017 in Review (Part 2 - Projects)

As 2017 is nearing a close, NewsNet this week is looking back at some of the accomplishments and fun things that happened in the City of Tucson this year. Today, we have a special edition that focuses on some of the big projects in the city over the past year (with the original story date added). We hope you enjoy seeing these stories again.

Completion of Improvements to Portion of Silverbell Road (2/13/17)
The City of Tucson and the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) celebrated the completion of the Silverbell Road – Goret Road to Grant Road Improvement Project. The February celebration and ribbon cutting took place at the northeast corner of Goret Road and Silverbell Road. The $9.85 million project was Phase 1 of a multi-phase project spanning multiple jurisdictions. The new four-lane divided roadway has a continuous multi-use path, bike lanes, drainage improvements, LED lighting, new traffic signals, native landscaping with water harvesting, and public art. The project involved extensive planning, partnering, outreach, and expertise required to promote mobility and improve capacity and safety. The work is part of the $2.1 billion RTA plan.

Kids Help Design a New Playground at Kennedy Park (2/22/17)
Kids from Tucson put crayons to paper to draw their dream playground, which ultimately became reality with help from Fiesta Bowl Charities and organizers from national nonprofit KaBOOM!. Elements from their drawings were incorporated into the design of the playground that was built on April 29 at Kennedy Park.
See pictures of Design Day on Flickr.
See pictures of Build Day on Flickr.

Airmen Memorial Bridge Dedication (3/17/17)
Two new plaques honoring the 18 airmen who died in a mid-air collision of two B-24 Liberator Bombers during a training mission over the Pantano Wash on Nov. 30, 1944 were unveiled in March. The new plaques were designed and donated by some of the surviving family members of the 18 airmen. Tucson City Council Member Paul Cunningham, the Tucson Department of Transportation (TDOT), and about 25 surviving family members from across the country took part in the rededication ceremony at the Airmen Memorial Bridge (Pantano Wash/Kolb Road). The bridge is part of the roadway improvements that now connect Sabino Canyon Road south of Tanque Verde Road to Kolb Road. The ribbon cutting for the new roadway and the dedication of the Airmen Memorial Bridge took place in January 2017.

Ward 5 Council Office Dedicates Youth Art Project Murals (7/24/17)
Ward 5 Council Member Richard Fimbres and staff hosted dedications of murals created by the Pima Association of Governments' (PAG) Youth Art Project. Two murals were dedicated in July at the Quincie Douglas Center and Library, 1575 E. 36th St. A third mural was dedicated in August at the Ward 5 Council Office, 4300 S. Park Ave. The murals honor civil rights pioneer Quincie Douglas, the legacy of the Buffalo Soldiers, the five branches of the U.S. military, and the residents of Ward 5 who served in the military. The PAG Youth Art Project offers employment for youth and the opportunity to be part of the design and installation of public artwork.

Tucson Marketplace in Ward 5 the Result of Investors Engaging Residents (7/26/17)
Once-vacant land that stretched from Park Avenue to Kino Boulevard and 36th Street to I-10 was the site of many planned projects that never came to fruition until a development partnership purchased the land in 2005. Ward 5 residents turned out for neighborhood meetings to hear about development plans, the developers engaged with them, and some residents even became employees of the new businesses at what is now known as Tucson Marketplace at The Bridges. Costco was the first retailer to open its doors in the new shopping center in 2011, followed later by Walmart, McDonald’s, Culver’s, Starbucks, Smoothie King, Century Theaters, Planet Fitness, Lin’s Buffet, and Dave & Busters. “People needed these local jobs,” said Ward 5 Council Member Richard Fimbres. It tore down the stereotypes of people thinking you can’t build on the south side, he said.
Read the original Arizona Daily Star article.

City Council Approves Tucson's Largest Residential Annexation (10/11/17)
The Mayor and Tucson City Council in October approved the annexation of the Swan and Valencia East Annexation District. The area is located southeast of Swan and Valencia and north of the Los Reales Landfill, as well as north and south of Craycroft and Interstate 10. It encompasses approximately 652 acres, including right-of-way, and is currently a mix of residential and commercial properties. There are 1,384 taxable parcels in the area and approximately 41 acres of vacant land zoned for residential development. City officials estimate that, after costs, there will be net revenue of more than $9 million over 10 years. Some of the costs include setting aside up to $200,000 per year over the first five years for health and safety improvements throughout the area, including a pedestrian walking path and upgrades to drainage and lighting.

Public Safety Gets New Safety Gear Thanks to Half-Cent Sales Tax (Videos TFD-10/25/17 and TPD-10/30/17)
The Tucson Fire Department (TFD) recently received 98 sets of turnout gear as part of the public safety improvements through Proposition 101, now known as Tucson Delivers, and the Tucson Police Department (TPD) received 300 body-worn cameras as part of the voter-approved half-cent sales tax. Watch the Tucson 12 videos to see firefighters and police thank taxpayers for their support, and learn more about how your tax dollars are being spent.

Learn How to Use Tucson's New Bike Share (Tucson 12 Video 11/20/17)
The Tugo Bike Share Program officially launched Nov. 17. If you want to ride a bike, Tucson 12 has a new video that takes you through the steps of using the new transit option to traverse around Downtown Tucson and the University of Arizona. Daily, monthly, and annual passes and an app are available to make it easy and convenient to ride.