City set to recognize Tucson’s stretch of historic state route 80

A street in Tucson could become a state route

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - The City of Tucson is set to recognize a section of historic Route 80 that runs through the city.

In January 2018 the state of Arizona designated all non-Arizona highways sections of old Route 80 as historic roadway.

At a city council meeting August 6, city council will recognize the section of road that runs through Tucson, including the iconic area along Drachman near Stone, will officially be designated as a historic roadway.

The agreement includes the placement of four road signs recognizing the roadway, and a promise from the city to attempt to keep the historic area vintage.

“We’ve automated everything completely, but it wasn’t always this way,” said Heath Bolin, owner of Sparkle Cleaners, a dry cleaning business that has been on the corner of Stone and Drachman since 1961.

“This street has a lot of history, and we know it used to be a really cool place to go up and down the streets from what our old customers have told us,” said Bolin.

For decades following the 60′s, the area experienced economic and social decline. Shops closed, restaurants moved.

After getting the first of several designations as a historic area five years ago, Bolin is excited for the future of historic Route 80 through Tucson.

“The city has done a lot to try and bring this area back,” he says. “There is student housing going up down the street. I think there is a lot of potential here for the future."

”I think as a community and a society are taking into consideration our unique heritage," said Demion Clinco, Executive Director of the Tucson Historic Preservation Society.

“These types of desgiantions really re-frame and re-shape the way we think about these places. Suddenly, in the communities mind, they go from being liablities to being assets,” Clinco said.

At Sparkle Cleaners, Bolin is excited to be a part of the re-birth of historic Route 80.

“We own the building, so we’ll always be here,” said Bolin. “Maybe bringing back some of the state route will make it cool again.”

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