The Haury-funded project Tucson Verde Para Todos seeks to engage communities in the south side of Tucson around green infrastructure (GI) to increase social ad ecological resilience. There are three main community engagement paths we are following that include engagement with (1) STAR Academic High School, (2) Hollinger Middle School, and (3) Lapan College Club. These engagements are leading to the introduction of green infrastructure in K-12 curriculum, GI design and implementation, and GI maintenance through the adoption of traffic circles. Our engagement with Lapan College Club represents the design and implementation of GI and the adoption of traffic circles.
Engagement with Hollinger Middle School began with an invitation to our partner Joaquin Murrieta of Tucson’s Watershed Management Group, to give a talk to students. The 6th and 7th grade teacher, Rebeka Denson, invited Joaquin to talk with the students about green infrastructure and its benefits to reduce flooding and heat in cities.
Our team has engaged with members of the City of Tucson Department of Transportation (TDOT) since its origins. The Transportation Program Coordinator, Ann Chanecka, provided a letter of support for the proposal, and has attended several meetings along with her colleague Andy Bemis. Although they fully support the idea of greening streets and that combining green infrastructure with biking is a synergy for safety and health, they also acknowledge the multiple hurdles of moving beyond the traditional grey infrastructure practice at the TDOT.
We held a Visioning Event on Saturday, November 4 2017 at the multipurpose room of STAR Academic High School. The objective of this event was to bring the community together to talk about how neighbors envision the future of this area, and see if green infrastructure can play a role in this vision. This event was led by our partners from Tierra y Libertad Organization (TYLO).
On July 20, 2017, we met with Dr. Eugenia Favela, Assistant to the Superintendent of the Sunny Side School District and Marsha Flores, Principal of STAR Academic High School at their offices in 2238 E Ginter Rd. During this meeting, we discussed several ways in which green infrastructure projects could be developed in school grounds by bringing in the school community, the surrounding community, and the community at large. Principal Flores talked about creating a student club "STAR Barrio Verde" to develop these projects that would be open to the community and using their facilities for community engagement. They want to hold an open forum where leaders can emerge to take individual projects under their supervision.