Rose Center Presents Preliminary Ideas On Oracle Road Revitalization at Panel Discussion Thursday, March 1st

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February 28, 2018

TUCSON—The Rose Center for Public Leadership, jointly operated by the National League of Cities (NLC) and the Urban Land Institute (ULI), is working this week with Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild to suggest revitalization strategies for the Oracle Road area, a 2.6-mile corridor north of downtown, that can inform potential changes to the city’s regulatory framework for infill development with the goal of attracting more investment for community development in high-poverty neighborhoods.

Representatives of the Rose Center will make a public presentation with preliminary observations and recommendations from 9-11 a.m. MST on Thursday, March 1 at Tucson City Hall, 255 W. Alameda St., in City Council Chambers.

“Oracle Road has long been a major commercial corridor and a gateway to our city,” said Mayor Jonathan Rothschild. “What it needs is investment by people who appreciate both its history and its potential.”

Bounded by Miracle Mile on the north, Speedway Boulevard on the south, Interstate 10 and Fairway Avenue to the west, and North Estrella / 7th Avenue to the east, the Oracle area was once a popular mid-20th century destination for residents and travelers and retains a number of historic motor lodges and neon signs from that era. When Interstate 10 was completed in 1961 just to the west, however, it diverted thru traffic away from Oracle Road.

There are a number of aging and underutilized retail buildings in the area, as well vacant land with commercial zoning. Yet Oracle remains a prime central city location, with many historical and other assets, including more than 500 businesses, two public school districts and Pima Community College’s Downtown Campus (an active anchor institution).

“Cities across the country are facing neighborhood redevelopment challenges like the one along Oracle, but each community has unique assets, character, and market potential,” said Jess Zimbabwe, founding director of the Rose Center. “We look forward to bringing some new ideas and promising approaches from other cities to leaders and stakeholders in Tucson.”

The Rose Center’s mission is to encourage and support excellence in land use decision-making by providing public officials with access to information, best practices, peer networks and other resources to foster creative, efficient, practical and sustainable land use policies. Each year, the center’s Daniel Rose Fellowship program invites the mayors of four large U.S. cities to select a team with land use decision-making authority to receive technical assistance on a local land use challenge. This year’s fellowship class is from the cities of Columbus, Ohio; Richmond, Virginia; Salt Lake City, Utah; and Tucson, Arizona.

“Local leadership is critical to achieving revitalization that meets the needs of residents and leads to better economic outcomes,” said Clarence E. Anthony, CEO and executive director of the National League of Cities (NLC). “We look forward to working with Mayor Rothschild through the Rose Center to help Tucson meet its goals and ultimately create a new future for the Oracle Road area.”

“The Rose Center has an excellent track record of helping cities reinvent themselves to be more vibrant, livable and successful,” said Urban Land Institute (ULI) Americas Chief Executive Officer Ralph Boyd. “Oracle Road is an important part of Tucson’s history and identity, and we look forward to working with the city on ways to revive this corridor. We’re confident that together, we can come up with solutions that make it an appealing destination for residents and tourists, ultimately providing an economic boost that will benefit the entire community.”

Mayor Rothschild’s team includes his designated Rose Fellows: Assistant City Manager Albert Elias; Carolyn Laurie, a principal planner in the Planning & Development Services Department; and Daniel Bursuck, a lead planner in the Planning & Development Services Department; who are assisted by project manager Jaimie Galayda, Planning, Transportation & Sustainability Policy Advisor in the Office of the Mayor. They will be joined by a panel of visiting experts assembled by the Rose Center.

The panel will be co-chaired by the Tucson Rose Fellowship team’s faculty advisers: Jane Lin, a founding partner of Urban Field Studio in San Francisco; and Tyrone Rachal, president of Urban Key Capital Partners in Atlanta. The panel will include Rose Fellows from other cities in this year’s class: Richmond, Va. City Councilmember Cynthia Newbille; and Danny Walz, chief operating officer for the Redevelopment Agency of Salt Lake City. Rounding out the panel are subject matter experts Flora Arabo, state and local policy director for Enterprise Community Partners in Washington, D.C.; David Flores, community development director for Casa Familiar in San Ysidro, Calif.; Renee Martinez-Stone, director of the West Denver Renaissance Collaborative for the Denver Housing Authority; and Ann Taylor, a senior vice president for Houston-based Midway Companies.

Mayor Rothschild and his team will brief the panel, who will then tour the study area and meet with community representatives and advocates, business and civic leaders, and other stakeholders to share their local knowledge and perspectives. Drawing upon their professional expertise and experience, the panelists will apply the information gathered during the visit and present recommendations for how the city, its partners and stakeholders can achieve their goals. Tucson’s expenses to participate in the program—including the panel’s visit—are underwritten by the Rose Center to ensure objectivity during the process.

The Daniel Rose Fellowship is the flagship program of the Rose Center, established in 2008 by the ULI Foundation Governor Daniel Rose. The purpose of the program is to provide city leaders with the insights, peer-to-peer learning, and analysis needed to successfully improve their cities. The fellowship’s program of work includes a study tour of another U.S. or foreign city, working retreats at NLC’s and ULI’s national conferences, and panel visits to each of the four fellowship cities. The cities of Anchorage, Alaska; Austin, Texas; Birmingham, Ala.; Boston; Charlotte, N.C.; Denver; Detroit; Grand Rapids, Mich.; Hartford, Conn.; Honolulu; Houston; Indianapolis; Kansas City, Mo.; Long Beach, Calif.; Louisville, Ky.; Memphis, Tenn.; Minneapolis; Nashville, Tenn.; Oakland, Calif.; Omaha, Neb.; Philadelphia; Phoenix; Pittsburgh; Portland, Ore.; Providence, R.I.; Rochester, N.Y.; Sacramento, Calif.; San José, Calif.; Seattle; Tacoma, Wash.; Tampa, Fla.; and Washington, D.C. have participated in the previous eight years of the program.

WHEN and WHERE: Representatives of the Rose Center will make a public presentation with preliminary observations and recommendations from 9-11 a.m. MST on Thursday, March 1 at Tucson City Hall, 255 W. Alameda St., in City Council Chambers.

About the National League of Cities

The National League of Cities (NLC) is dedicated to helping city leaders build better communities. NLC is a resource and advocate for 19,000 cities, towns and villages, representing more than 218 million Americans.

About the Urban Land Institute

The Urban Land Institute is a nonprofit education and research institute supported by its members. Its mission is to provide leadership in the responsible use of land and in creating and sustaining thriving communities worldwide. Established in 1936, the institute has 40,000 members worldwide representing all aspects of land use and development disciplines. For more information, please visit uli.org or follow us on TwitterFacebookLinkedIn, and Instagram.

Media Contacts:

NLC: Tom Martin, [email protected]; 202-626-3186

ULI: Trish Riggs, [email protected]; 202-624-7086

City of Tucson: Jaimie Galayda; [email protected]; 520-791-4027

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