Archive for December 18th, 2008
Read Chuck Huckleberry’s opinion letter to The Explorer newspaper HERE.
There has been an ongoing dispute over control of the Arroyo Grande development. Arroyo Grande will ultimately be filled with 6000 houses. The border of Arroyo Grande go from north Oro Valley all the way past Catalina to the Pinal County line. At issue is how much open space will be set aside in the development.
Pima County was pushing for control and OV ultimately wanted to control the development. Having future growth occur in a city makes more sense than expanding unincorporated Pima County.
From the opinion;
I apologize if any of my remarks may have been interpreted to cast blame on any entity or individual. They were not intended to do so. In the present circumstance it is nobody’s fault, but really everybody’s fault. It will be a tragedy if we all went through the difficult and trying process to develop consensus on Arroyo Grande and the end result is our complete failure to produce the open space the public was promised.
Chuck Huckelberry is the Pima County administrator.
ADOT is looking at volume on I-10 through Tucson and projecting that we are going to be in trouble. Read the study HERE. Data shows that by 2030 between 150-200k cars per day will be using the freeway. Options to expand or build a second deck are too expensive and an equally expensive light rail option would alleviate enough volume.
From Fox News – HERE.
What ADOT is proposing is a bypass from Casa Grande west of Avra Valley then past I-19 then connecting back to i-10 past Vail. The bypass would separate local traffic from travelers and truckers passing through.
Of course the NIMBY factions and the environmental groups are lining up in opposition. Supervisor Bronson who’s district encompasses much of the area came out in The Explorer this past week quoted her as;
“Everybody is opposing,” said Pima County Supervisor Sharon Bronson. “I don’t know what ADOT is proposing.”
For more than a year, county officials have made known their staunch opposition to the proposed western bypass.
The county, and some federal officials, worry that the roadway would infringe on a 4.25-square-mile mitigation corridor that the Bureau of Reclamation purchased to help preserve mule deer. The animals use the area when crossing between the Tucson and Roskruge mountains.
In its study, ADOT has acknowledged the conflict there and suggested that a land swap would be needed to build the bypass.
“It goes through critical habitat,” Bronson said.
The supervisor said that on Friday and in the coming weeks, state officials should expect to get an “earful” from her on the plan.
Where it gets interesting is that the one shiny spot in our regions economic development future is around transportation logistics and handling freight by rail and truck coming from new deep sea ports in Guymas and from crowded Long Beach.
The recent ULI Town Hall presentation on the coming Arizona Megaopolis pointed out that a number of the western states will enjoy NAFTA trucking transportation booms for years to come. The transportation corridors can originate in central Texas, El Paso, through Tucson or from the Yuma valley. The winner of the economic boom will be the community that plans ahead and gets their act together quickest. The freeway bypass would be a huge step forward on getting us ready. Read more HERE.
Read about the Canamex corridor – HERE.
Car dealers sell expensive items to and collect a lot of sales tax for the state and local municipalities. A $20k car pays out $1120 to the State of AZ and $420 to the City of Tucson. I’ve talked with big dealers in town that have seen unit sales drop from 250 a year ago to 50 for the same month this year. Multiply that by the total number of car dealers in Arizona and you can see what a big issue this is. The big generators of sales taxes are the construction industry and retail sales.
A good friend of mine, Edmond Marques recently closed his Suzuki dealership. The drying up of the credit market was a major reason for his challenges. I’m sure there are more to come.
Tucson New Car Dealers Association
The new-car dealership industry in Arizona is a major economic driver, generating more than $18-billion in sales last year. New vehicle dealers employ more than 29,000 people in Arizona with annual state-wide payroll of nearly $1.5 billion, or 15% of the state’s total retail payroll. So to a large extent, as the state’s new vehicle industry goes, so goes the state economy. Ted Chapman, President of the Tucson New Car Dealers Association, has perspective Click HERE to watch the interview with Dana Cooper.
A little history; Tucson First was an idea adopted by Mayor and Council in 1990′s. The idea to support local businesses was started by a few in the business community and was funded by the City of Tucson. The problem was that due to City procurement procedures regarding low bidders the printing for the Tucson First program was actually done by an out of state company. The media got a hold of the story and the programs funding went away.
I was involved in another program started in the mid 2000′s called Returning Business To Tucson. Charlie Odowd (now director of Southern Arizona for ASBA) and I were the co-chairs. The momentum started but we didn’t have the dedicated personel or the budget to keep the project going.
Now another group out of Phoenix is looking to start up a chapter here in Tucson. Local First Arizona is a well organized and funded grass roots effort started and championed by Kimber Lanning. Kimber was the owner of a local record store in Phoenix called Stink Weeds. She watch how hard it was for other local businesses to grow and thrive and decided to do something about it.
In Phoenix Local First Arizona (LFA) is up to 1800 members and growing. Each month 30-40 locally owned businesses are signing. Some of the things LFA is doing in the Phoenix market include, buy local maps for restaurants and retail locations, numerous events to draw attention to local shop keepers including farmers markets, fall festivals, meet and greet events to name a few. Kimber has expanded the efforts to look at zoning and building processes in Phoenixes older downtown area where a unique selection of local businesses are actually a huge selling point for consumers. Kimber is also moving LFA into the procurement arena to push for preferential treatment for local businesses in the lucrative government contracting areas. She is working with Wisk Office Products to change State of Arizona procurement rules. I have hear that the City of Phoenix has already implemented a procurement process using small businesses modeled after the Minority and Women Business program already in place.
I’ve jumped on with LFA’s efforts to start a similar program here in Tucson/Pima County. Currently we have just shy of 100 business registered – HERE is the Tucson listings. Once our membership hits 150 here in Tucson additional marketing and support will be coming our way. The public relations efforts have been amazing. Lisette DeMarsfrom Mrs. Tiggy Winks Toys is the Tucson point of contact and tireless champion trying to get us going here in Tucson.
The Mayor and Council proclaimed Black Thursday, the traditionally biggest shopping day of the year as Buy Local Day. Click HERE for the story.
I encourage all of you to check out Local First Arizona. Join the organization and help us make it a success.
From the Tucson Citizen about Local First Arizona – HERE.
From Business Pundit.com – Buy Local! – HERE
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