Paul's Note - May 14th, 2021

I think most of us are familiar with Habitat for Humanity, which is celebrating their 40th anniversary in Tucson this year. In fact, many of you aren’t only familiar but you may have actually volunteered with them given how many local employers have been supportive of the organization. 

Habitat aims to end poverty by creating opportunities for home ownership for low income families through partnerships with local businesses and government. Having the stability of safe shelter is a major part of helping families move up the economic ladder. 

As I said, we are familiar with that part of the program. Did you know, however, that Habitat also has a special program geared to veterans? The Veterans Build program provides homeownership, critical home repairs, employment and volunteer engagement opportunities to U.S. veterans, military service members and their families. 

An Army veteran just participated in building a home for himself in the Flowing Wells area, and Veterans Build just finished a home in the Amphi area for a veteran a well. Another home will be going up soon in Marana. 

Habitat is also helping active duty service members to transition to skilled civilian work. They work with the Department of Defense and Davis-Monthan Air Force Base on a program called SkillBridge. The SkillBridge program is an opportunity for Service members to gain valuable work experience through specific industry training, apprenticeships, or internships during the last 180 days of service. SkillBridge connects Service members with industry partners in real-world job experiences. 

As a veteran of the national guard, I’m appreciative of people thanking me for my service. It’s good to see Habitat putting those thanks into action. 

For more information on Veterans Build or Habitat for Humanity, please visit their website (habitattucson.org) or send them an email (info@habitattucson.org). 

A constituent took issue with my assertion last week that we passed the “G Minor” plan. I need to clarify. Much of the discussion around the “G Minor” plan inspired what we actually passed, but some of the specifics were not included in the motion. Some may end up in the plan that we asked staff to draw up for us. 

Here is the motion made as passed with only one dissenting vote: 

1) continue the suspension of the zoo expansion to allow for a new design that will have the effect of saving Barnum Hill and the South Duck Pond, 2) proceed with the redesign of the zoo expansion into the area north and west of the Edith Ball Adaptive Recreation Center with the criteria; a) Minimize the use of open green space, b) maximize the reuse of hardscape, c) manage the additional costs to the project to be less than $5.5M, and d) deal with the questions of lighting, fireworks and events at Hi Corbett and the potential effects of zoo expansion and 3) initiate a comprehensive update to the Reid Park and Reid Park Zoo Master Plan. 

Tucson's Mayor and Council last month gave notice of its intention to implement a differential rate structure for Tucson Water customers located in unincorporated Pima County. The public has a chance to comment during two town halls this month. The next virtual meeting is May 25. The town halls, from 5:30-7 p.m., will provide opportunities to learn more about the proposal and ask questions. An online survey is also available. A public hearing will be held at the meeting of the Mayor and Council on June 8. 

To find out more, click here