Paul's Note - March 22, 2019

I’ve been getting questions about the status of the planned Fry’s on 22nd and Houghton. There has been some confusion since Fry’s has closed a few stores in town and cancelled plans to build others. I had my staff contact Kroeger’s, Fry’s parent company, to find out what the status of the 22nd and Houghton location is. We got a response from Dennis E. Barr, the company’s director of real estate:

We have not nor do we intend to sell the property.  By the time we completed the years long rezoning and acquisition of the property, Kroger made changes to our capital spending strategy that affected many storing projects around the country, including this project.  We look forward to developing the site, but do not have a timeframe when this will be accomplished. 

Keep in mind that even if the property is sold, the new zoning that was approved would transfer to the new owner with the parcel.

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You may have read in the Star about the murder of Deborah Barnette, a volunteer at the Tucson Interfaith HIV and AIDS Network (TIHAN). She had been volunteering at TIHAN since she retired from teaching five years ago. People that knew her said she was generous, but also had a cynical sense of humor. The work she did for TIHAN made our community better.

For those of you who don’t know about TIHAN, they have been operating in Tucson for more than 30 years. Originally, their mission was to work with faith communities to end the stigma towards people with AIDS. In the intervening decades, their work has expanded to support people living with AIDS and HIV while continuing to educate the community. That education work is critical now since AIDS doesn’t get the headlines that it did in the past.

If you want to support TIHAN, they are always looking for donations for their work with patients that are home bound. If you want to donate toiletries, you can bring them to my office and my staff will make sure that they get to TIHAN.

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At the council meeting, we got a report from FC Tucson. FC Tucson has been a playing in our country’s top amateur division and many of the best college players in the country have played home games at Kino. Many FC Tucson players are pros now, some playing at the top level of American soccer, including Aaron Long, who is now the captain of the US national team, Tucson’s own Donny Toia and Lainey Burdett, who played for FC Tucson’s women’s team and is now playing for Orlando Pride.

FC Tucson also brings Major League Soccer to Tucson for preseason. This year’s preseason generated an estimated half-million dollars in hotel revenues from the teams as well as visitors from out of town that want to escape the snow and catch their hometown teams.

This year, FC Tucson debuts as a professional team.  Their first home match will be on April 13. I encourage everyone to support another of Tucson’s pro sports teams.

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I’ve been encouraging people to water their gardens with harvested water and I’ve been trying to be a good example for the community on this issue by making sure the landscape at my office is both native plants and irrigated through water harvesting.

We have stopped using pre-emergent weed killer on our office landscaping, and we are seeing the results of it this year after an unusually wet winter. Our little patch of desert has lavender, peach and rose globe mallows, yellow brittle bush, penstermon parryi, desert marigold and a lot of butterflies and bees. Come have a walk around before it heats up the next time you are by the office.

If you are interested in native landscaping, you can check out the Sustainable Landscape Expo on Saturday at 4210 N Campbell Ave (near Roger Road). This free, family-friendly event will include over 30 exhibits to increase your knowledge on efficient water usage and sustainable landscaping in the Southern Arizona desert. Enjoy food trucks, hands-on and interactive activities for adults and kids, a raffle for items and services, magic shows, flash talks and live music. The event runs from 10 am to 2 pm.