Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Key Rio Nuevo project in Tucson finally taking shape

[Source: Teresa Jun, KOLD News 13] -- After years of delays, Rio Nuevo's centerpiece project is finally starting to take shape. "Tucson Origins" would include a cultural plaza, museums, and a re-creation of the original early 1800's San Agustin Mission. It would be built on Tucson's west side, near Grande and West Congress, west of Interstate 10, at the base of "A" Mountain, considered the birthplace of Tucson. Planners unveiled the concept designs to the public last week. Residents say it's been a long time coming. "We've been watching this for 15 years or so, since it first became an idea," said Norma Niblett, a Tucson resident. "I think it's going to be a good project, because of the fact that it's going to add a cultural element to the city of tucson," said Paolo Dilorenzo, also a Tucson resident.

But some are skeptical the project will survive, after so many Rio Nuevo promises in the past have not. Planners assure, this time is different. "There really wasn't funding associated with them and that's the key difference, is Rio Nuevo has provided the funding for this project to happen," said Marty McCune, historic preservation officer with the city of Tucson. By October, planners want to finalize the concept design. By 2007, they expect to start construction. And 2009 is the target date for this site to be complete, and open to the public.