City approves central business district for another decade

Central business district extended for 10 years

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) -Tuesday, the city of Tucson’s mayor and council vote to extend the central business district for another 10 years.

Brian Flagg and Roxy Valenzuela walk around the block on 25th and 4th—the area the City of Tucson and South Tucson are separated.

“I see bars and restaurants coming in this direction that aren’t for the people who live in the city of South Tucson,” said Brian Flagg, who opposes a central business district.

Flagg says the differences from one side of the street to the other are stark, and something like central business district would highlight those differences even more.

“It’s like the world changes, and it’s much more low income, and I think that’s starting to change,” said Flagg.

Valenzuela and Flagg are part of a movement calling for an end to the central business district and government property lease excise tax. It’s an initiative passed in 2012 in Tucson that takes areas the city defines as “slum area” where “sound municipal growth is substantially arrested”—and gives property tax credits to developments that create jobs and increase property values. Tucson had plans to expand the current lines of the central business district to comprise downtown Tucson and the downtown gateway corridors, including Oracle Road, Stone Avenue, Broadway Boulevard, Park Avenue, South Sixth Avenue, St.Mary’s Road and portions of Interstate 10. That area would be 5.66sq. miles, or 3,623acres, which equals 2.4% of the City of Tucson by area.

However, the city decided to keep the current lines of the CBD and extend the life of it another ten years. Those who oppose call the decision a small victory in the right step.

“I was disappointed because I really wanted them to terminate and do other solutions for the community,” said Valenzuela.

The projected capital investment for approved developments in 2019 was more than $300 million.

Fletcher McCusker, chairman for Rio Nuevo, said in a statement, “We are pleased to see a very important tool maintained and have faith that the city will address the concerns regarding the GPLET to create a better balanced program with both economic and community benefit.”

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