TUCSON, Ariz. -
A growing coalition of local business is organizing to push back on downtown development.
The Save Fourth Avenue group released a letter Tuesday to outlining their direction and the goals they want to accomplish.
The mission statement details groups involved and their core beliefs.
Read their statement:
This letter is intended to introduce to the community that the newly formed organization known as the Fourth Avenue Historic District Coalition intends to seek a Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) with the prospective developer of The Union on 6th, Education Realty Trust Inc. (EdR). Our Coalition is a grassroots alliance of stakeholders in the 4th Avenue area, including;
•Fourth Avenue Merchants
•Local First Arizona
•Neighborhood Associations including Iron Horse, Dunbar Springs and West University
•Tenants, and residents of the surrounding neighborhoods
We are united in our mission to preserve the unique identity of Historic Fourth Avenue and the surrounding areas while promoting smart, responsible, sustainable growth that will benefit these districts and Tucson as a whole. We are dedicated to educating ourselves and the community about these issues and advocating for concrete solutions that serve our city. We offer a broad long-term vision of what development can look like in Tucson, in which developments can (and must) benefit the community, creating synergistic, cooperative relationships between developments and the neighborhoods they inhabit.
The Coalition believes that the purpose of development is to bring measurable improvement to its community, and the way to ensure that is by demanding accountability and transparency. Furthermore, it is the role of the public sector, with citizen input, to guide urban growth so it is done in the wisest and most equitable manner. We see it as our function to present best practice information needed for government and community stakeholders to make informed choices, work positively and collaboratively to reach mutually agreeable outcomes, and raise the standard for future projects focused on smart growth throughout Tucson. This approach is critical, and by working together we believe we can build something superior to what any of us can achieve alone.
We are asking the City of Tucson to include the CBA within the scope of any negotiations of concessions and incentives with EdR, as the Coalition does not feel that the development proposals we've seen to date honor the original spirit and intention of the Infill Incentive District (IID) and the design does not strive to integrate with or enhance our neighborhoods. Representatives of EdR have already indicated a commitment to engage in a CBA. We believe these circumstances create opportunity for negotiation and collaboration with EdR for the mutual benefit of the community and the developer. Any agreements should be recorded with the property to mandate long-term compliance. Our Coalition has also engaged in a survey and series of community meetings to identify shared values to be considered. These concerns and recommendations focus on the issues below:
•Preservation of local businesses (existing and future) through appropriately sized store fronts (600-1000 sq ft maximum), rates that are accurate to the 4th Avenue market, reservations of space for local merchants, and other measures advocated by Local First Arizona that have been proven to facilitate economic development in similar cities.
•Design that integrates our new Union on 6th neighbors with the neighborhood, generally fits with the existing sense of 4th Avenue, and avoids an isolated community that does not benefit from nor contribute to the district. Proposals include permeable buildings to make urban life pleasant, a flow from the development to the Avenue merchants that promotes street level interaction and contributes to overall "city comfort," and a pedestrian walkway from 4th Avenue to 6th Avenue with glass doors in the back of the retail space to create traffic from rental units to retail businesses.
•Walkability in the model of cities like New York, San Francisco and Portland. Even for "character areas" of Phoenix like Roosevelt Row, their Downtown Code states that development should emphasize shade, small-scaled faćades, and local commercial space on ground floors. Space can be welcome and contextual to pedestrians rather than forced.
•Local art, with well maintained interior and exterior murals. Murals can give context to a district, and art personalizes our environment. Public art contributes to the process of placemaking, infusing personality into locations and increasing civic participation from residents in the community.
•Preview of marketing and advertising materials to prove that EdR is marketing to young professionals, empty nesters and families, as they have repeatedly promised that this development is not intended to be student housing. Our community welcomes students, retirees and professionals; recognizing diversity strengthens our community fabric.
Our proposed CBA will additionally contain many common provisions such as a desire for sustainable materials and practices, hiring of local firms in contracting and construction, compensation of living wages for local employees, and studies of impacts to legacy businesses, traffic, and public safety so that necessary infrastructure improvements can be considered and funded. To cement the establishment of a cooperative, mutually beneficial relationship with the developer, we intend to form a Community Advisory Committee made up of members of our Coalition that will meet regularly with representatives of the developer. This will ensure transparency in processes and procedures (including marketing efforts and bidding of contractors and subcontractors), and operation in accordance with, and fulfillment of, the terms and principals agreed to in the CBA.
It can only be a Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) if it involves a broad range of the community. Local First Arizona has made clear to FAMA throughout the process that any agreement negotiated should be a CBA. It can't be called a true CBA if it doesn't involve a coalition representing a broad range of community members (including the neighborhood associations). With an authentic and signed CBA, the developer can then go to the city for approval with the full support of the community. Save Fourth Avenue has been leading a process to draft a CBA in conjunction with WUNA, Iron Horse, Dunbar Springs, concerned citizens, FAMA merchant members, and LFA and advocacy efforts need to be focused on support for this process and agreement to be the one negotiated and approved.
Finally, to quote our friends at Local First Arizona, "The new developments on Fourth Avenue present an opportunity to create a long-standing precedent that can support both developers and locally owned independent businesses and lead to a better mix of economic development benefits. The CBA process is the best short-term option to support locally owned independent businesses with new developments and can move quickly with enough support. With the leadership of the City of Tucson and Fourth Avenue Merchants Association supporting the continued advocacy by the businesses involved in Save 4th Avenue and Local First Arizona, the CBA precedent is one that can be accomplished."
The Fourth Avenue Historic District Coalition
Shannon Riggs, Christine Koenen, Jennifer Radler, Libby Tobey
422 N. 4th Ave.
Jssmine Simons, Stephanie Johnston
Co-Owners The Surly Wench Pub
424 N. 4th Ave.
Kristen E. Nelson
Owner Casa Libre Building
228 N. 4th Ave.
Owner Tiny Town Gallery
408 N. 4th Ave.
Owner Tucson Thrift Shop
319 N. 4th Ave.
Southern Arizona Director of Local First Arizona
President West University Neighborhood Asssociation
Area 6 Representative for West University Neighborhood Assoc.
Area 3 Representative for West University Neighborhood Assoc.
West University neighborhood Assoc. Member
Founding Member Fourth Avenue Historic District Coalition
Owner Delectables Catering
Lifetime Member Fourth Avenue Merchants Assoc.
Owner of Multiple Properties near 4th Ave and 7th St.
Owner D&D Pinball
331 E. 7th St.
Nicole and John Carrillo
Owners Mabel's on 4th and Rosie's Barket
419 N. 4th Ave. and 327 E. 7th St.
Owner Everest Souvenirs
423 N. 4th Ave.
Owner Antigone Books
411 N. 4th Ave.
Owner EXO Roast Co.
403 N. 6th Ave.
Julie and Ben Vernon
Owners Crooked Tooth Brewing
228 E. 6th St.
Owner Silver Sea Jewelry
330 N. 4th Ave
Owner Floor Polish Dance Studio
408 N. 4th Ave.
Jennifer and Michael Johnson
Owners Celestial Rites
543 N. 4th Ave.
Tom and Margaret Koenen
Property Owners 422 and 424 N. 4th Ave.
Owner Razorz Edge
427 N. 4th Ave.
Robert Southard and Steven Rose
Property Owners 433 & 435 N. 4th Ave. and 432 S. Herbert
Property Owner 419 N. 4th Ave.
Owner Rustic Candle Company
324 N. 4th Ave.
Founding Member Fourth Avenue Historic District Coalition
Owner How Sweet it Was Vintage
424 E. 6th St.
Amandon DellErba, Global Change Media
Kazarian Giannangelo, KVAN 91.7 Visionary Radio
Mycenay Plyler, The Sea of Glass Center for the Arts
TiyiEndea DellErba, Sacred Treasures
Centria Lilly, Spirit Steps Tours
DaMaeAn Steinhardt, Magic Land Realty
Celinas Ruth, Esq., Global Family Legal Services
330 E. 7th St & 630 N. 4th Ave
Vice President Dunbar Spring Neighborhood Association
Owner Originate Natural Building Materials
948 N. Main Ave.