Business owners await change, added art in the 5 Points neighborhood

Searching for answers in Five Points

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Tom Philabaum has been around Tucson long enough to see how the population has blown up in parts of town.

It seems his glass shop off of Sixth and Stone is his second home.

He’s a local glass artist, the proud owner of the Philabaum Glass Gallery and Studio in the heart of the 5 Points Neighborhood.

(Source: KOLD News 13)

“It gave me life,” he explained about his art.

Over time, he’s noticed things have changed off the historic intersection.

“We’re losing some of the flavor,” he explained. “It’s hard to find the studio space anymore.”

Some businesses have closed. Other people have moved in and both the city and county have committed to sprucing it up.

A promise Tom says has been talked about “forever,” Philabaum said, with a chuckle.

In fact this has been in the works since 2012. The goal is to add public art to beautify the 5 Points Neighborhood.

Renderings from a story KOLD reported on two years ago show a gateway to the neighborhood, but at this point - it still hasn’t been created yet.

Delays and extended deadlines continue to push the project back. The $500,000 project resurfaced on Tuesday night's meeting agenda.

Documents attached to the agenda explain the project was approved by the Arizona Department of Transportation back in March of 2019. Bids were requested for the infrastructure, but due to the late approval by ADOT - the project couldn't be completed by the June 2019 deadline.

The Tucson City Council is now looking at an extension to August 2019.

Further questions to the City of Tucson about the delay were not returned by the time this story had aired.

As progress continues to be made, business owners like Tom are eager to see what will change.

“One foot in the past, one foot in the present, another one in the future,” Philabaum said. As his neighborhood changes, he said he just wants to be kept in the loop. “We’re such an intimate business community and bedroom community.”

As his own shop has grown and changed, he knows it’s inevitable outside too.

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