Monday, August 21, 2006

Heritage Park plan opinions sought in Tucson

[Source: Teya Vitu, Tucson Citizen] -- Tucsonans on Wednesday evening can get their first sight of what will be built at Tucson Origins Heritage Park. Yes, what will be built, not might be built, or what Rio Nuevo hopes to build. "This is the reality of it," said Marty McCune, the city's historic preservation officer. "This isn't planning anymore. We are in project design." The downtown architecture firm Burns Wald-Hopkins intends to have complete conceptual design and cost estimates ready by November for the City Council. Construction is expected to start by the end of 2007. Burns Wald-Hopkins' preliminary site concepts will be on display from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Tucson Convention Center's Mohave Room, 260 S. Church Ave. They will show where the Mission San Agustín and Mission Gardens will sit in relation to the Arizona Historical Society and Arizona State Museum, as well as how plazas and parking will fit into the 20-acre project at the foot of "A" Mountain.

Two earlier master plans addressed either the museums or the mission, but not both together. "This is the new-generation design," architect David Wald-Hopkins said. "This integrates the two." The architectural team will be at the open house, as will the interpretive team - those responsible for getting the history right. "The whole point is interpreting what happened on that site over the last 4,000 years or maybe as far back as 12,000 years," McCune said. Open house visitors will be encouraged to fill out comment cards on what they think about the preliminary notions for the origins park.

[Aerial view of excavations at the San Agustín Mission site at the base of A-Mountain. Source: Adriel Heisly, Desert Archaeology.]