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"It's a beautiful little park": Balboa Heights neighborhood focuses on improving the area around the park

Balboa Heights Park
Posted at 6:38 PM, Feb 13, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-13 20:38:42-05

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Tucked inside the Balboa Heights neighborhood is their shining jewel — the local Balboa Heights Park. Just a few streets down from the park is Derek Dooley's business. He and his family have owned businesses in the area since the 1960s, so Balboa Heights evokes the feeling of nostalgia.

"For me, it's because I grew up in this area," he said. "There's a lot of people who have lived in this neighborhood for a long time so there's a community here."

Now, he's the president of the neighborhood association, which was revitalized about three years ago.

"To just focus on the neighborhood and have the city to pay attention to some of the things in the neighborhood," he said.

For the neighbors, the park is a great place to grow community and it's even complete with a splash pad. But Dooley said the park is actually empty most of the time.

"It's hard to keep the park open because of people doing drugs in the area," he said. "Castro Street is a magnet for homelessness. There's a lot of people that sleep and congregate on the street."

He said the city does put pressure on the area but the issues ends up coming back around.

"The city put some pressure on it, but they back off and it goes back to what it was," he said.

He said a constant police presence is something that would help the neighborhood.

"It is better than it was but we would like to see a little more attention paid to Castro," he said.

Tina Giuliano is a reporter for KGUN 9. She is a native Arizonan and grew up in Scottsdale. Tina is passionate about storytelling and is excited to work telling Tucson's stories. Share your story ideas and important issues with Tina by emailing or by connecting on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.