Monday, February 5, 2018

Christina-Taylor Green Memorial Park

Here's a small(ish) park where you can celebrate 2018 without — Tucsonans hope — any more senseless gun violence. Before he sent me these photos, David Aber wrote on April 4, 2017 (with a few edits from me about your computer):
These photos cover the Christina-Taylor Green Memorial Park. Christina was a nine year old girl who was killed by an assassin’s attempt on the life of U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords.

If you'd like to see the Concept Plan for the Memorial Park, click there. North is to the right. (Your computer might ask to save this instead of letting you see it. Save it in a file on your Desktop, then click on it to view.)

This two-acre pocket park is along the CDO wash at the intersection of North Shannon Rd. and West Magee Rd. It is designed for walkers, riders and bikers to stop and take a break as well as for families to relax and contemplate. From what I saw, it appears most everything called for on the concept plan has been accomplished. The flowers, plants and bushes have only recently been planted so it will be awhile before they are able to cover the bare spots.
Pima County's web page (which seems mostly out of date as of this writing) says the park has: Drinking Water, Equestrian Access, Restrooms, Walking Paths, Cycling, Horseback Riding, Walking with Dogs, and Wildlife Viewing.

Here are an Arizona Daily Star news article about Christina-Taylor and the park: Born, died between 2 tragedies and a page from the website: Other monuments and memorials to Christina-Taylor.

Now, on to David's photos. In case you can't see, each park bench has a different design. Click on any photo for a larger view:

Update (February 5, 2018): I stopped by today. The flowers in David's last photo are gone, of course (after almost a year). There were bouquets in Christina-Taylor's arms:

Location: The park is at the southwest corner of Magee and Shannon; it runs between Shannon and the Cañada del Oro Wash. The entrance is on Shannon not far south of Magee.

Hours: Daylight hours.

Parking: There's a small parking lot on-site. The huge lot at the Northwest YMCA is across Shannon; I'd guess that they won't mind if you park there — there's a path from the northwest corner… you can walk from the west or (maybe) the southwest sides of the Y lot.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Pas de deux (someday, pas de trois?)

The right edge of the photo above, at the corner of 4th Avenue and Stevens Avenue, shows two sculptures on pedestals. (The empty third pedestal is near the middle of the photo.) Below is a closer view of the two:

This pocket park is in a great location. As David Aber (who sent the photos) wrote: "It’s a nice place to rest and find some shade after a hard day of shopping, eating and drinking on 4th Ave." I'd add that it's also a good place to go on warm evenings." He added "[It has] free-standing wood benches, and two small concrete picnic tables with small benches. It has no name that I could find. However, it is the site of two bronze sculptures by Melody Peters. Melody has named her sculptures ‘Pas de Deux’. I think that is a good name for the park."

The sculptures are a big part of the story of this pocket park. The original plan was for the sculpture to be in the park by the time the new 4th Avenue underpass opened in 2006. My memory is that there'd be two sculptures (a ballet pas de deux) or three (a ballet pas de trois); there are three pedestals. But controversy over the dancers not wearing clothes put the project in limbo… and, as the delays mounted, the price of bronze was skyrocketing. The parklet opened without any sculpture and stayed that way for years.

Eventually, though, the Tucson Transportation Department public art manager realized that the artist might make two identical sculptures from the same mold — which would cut costs. Melody (the artist) agreed, and also aimed to raise funds to make a third sculpture. At the time David took the photos — August 27, 2017 — the two female dancers were still on their own.

(There's more of the story in the 2012 Arizona Daily Star article Long-delayed sculptures to be installed in underpass and the Arts Foundation page Pas de Deux?.)

Location: Corner of 4th Ave. and Stevens Ave. Get here from the Hotel Congress area by walking through the 4th Avenue underpass.

Parking: Limited during busy hours (which is most of the time). Try parking somewhere along the modern streetcar line and riding it to the parklet… or walking south on 4th Avenue to just before the underpass.

Hours: Early morning through late evening.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Christopher Franklin Carroll Centennial Park

This place, squeezed between a street and a parking lot, has been a long time in the making. (Our February 20, 2015 article Coming soon, we hope: Centennial Park(let) shows the empty space.

As the Tucson government page for the parklet says: “Christopher Franklin Carroll, a downtown preservationist, developer, and fourth-generation resident of the El Presidio neighborhood, passed away on July 8, 2013.”

It's a nice place for a stroll — but not a seat because, inexplicably, there are no benches to sit on. (There are benches across the street Next to the Corbett House. You probably shouldn't try sitting on these rocks :)

Here's the parklet from Main Street. This is where you enter. (The Paseo Redondo address is at the south end)…

Inside the pocket park are three Tucson history plaques:

The March 30, 2016 KMOV-TV (St. Louis) story says the park was dedicated on February 12, 2016. The story is at Park to honor Tucson historic preservation advocate.

I took these photos on June 21, 2017.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Keeling Desert Park(let)

If you aren't looking north as you drive along this part of Glenn (just east of Stone), you probably won't notice this beautiful new pocket park:

There are a few picnic tables, though they aren't shaded — mid-days, at least:

There are some shady patches under the trees — and, in the afternoons, under these rooflets (try bringing a folding chair to sit here):

The small play area has a nice padded covering on the ground that should help kids from being hurt if they fall.

Some fun public art and sculpture are scattered around:

The City of Tucson's Keeling Desert Park webpage was mostly empty when I wrote this mid-June, but it may be ready by the time you see this.

There's no water fountain, so bring your own H2O.

Location: 1½ blocks east of Stone on Glenn

Hours: No gate, but no lights either. (There are neighbors close by on three sides, so quiet is appreciated.)

Parking: If you're in a car, park along Incas Place, across Glenn from the parklet.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Shady and artistic spot in Dunbar/Spring

How about exploring for some fun and funky art this Fourth of July? One of the best places in Tucson to find impromptu art is the Dunbar/Spring neighborhood. It runs north and west from the corner of 6th Street and Stone Avenue. You'll find traffic circles with whimsical direction posts, several murals (especially the longgg mural on 9th Avenue, as seen on the Tucson Murals Project blog), a bicycle on the roof of a home, some sculpture scattered around, and more.

We have two other articles about the neighborhood on this blog: Dunbar/Spring playground on Playable Parks blog and Sit on a Gila Monster, share a book.

Anyway, while you're in the neighborhood, a shady spot to sit is under the spreading trees in front of a dragon mural:

The photo is from David Aber. (Thank you!) I'd been at the corner back in 2010, after neighbors painted the dragon over graffiti. (You can see the scene back then on the Tucson Murals Project blog entry Topping taggers.)

The table and seats were added sometime before August, 2016. (They suddenly appear on a Google Street View timeline of the corner taken during that month.)

Location: southeast corner of 10th Avenue and University Boulevard

Hours: There's a dim street light next to the spot. (Neighbors will especially appreciate quiet in the evening and early morning!)

Parking: Street parking.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Pitch a horseshoe in this pocket park

In a way, Reid Park is a collecton of Pocket Parks connected by lawns and trees. Here's one: Tucson Horseshoe Pitchers' Club:

Their website has a lot of events and more.

Location: Reid Park north of McDonald's. See the map on their website for more information.

Parking: Reid Park lots nearby.

Hours: Competition hours (see website), but probably other practice times. Talk with members (click on "Contact" on the website).

Monday, April 3, 2017

PVNA's Pocket Park being developed

The Palo Verde Neighborhood Association (from Speedway to Grant and Country Club to Alvernon) has a pocket park next to a Tucson Water well. There seems to have been a burst of enthusiasm around 2014 and 2015, then — from the looks of the bulletin board (see the photo below), website/blog, and Facebook page — things aren't as active right now.

The park is in a quiet spot, though, and it has a bench near two big mesquite trees:

The address is on Fairmount Street… there's a photo of that side below. But you can also come in from Willard Street — on the south side of the parklet.

I haven't asked anyone in the Neighborhood Association about the pocket park's status. I did find a webpage on with information about the park's watershed enhancement goals.

Here's a sign with more information. I've saved it extra-large so, I hope, you can read it by clicking on it:

There's also a bulletin board with listings for events in 2015:

Location: Center of Palo Verde Neighborhood

Hours: 7 am to 7 pm

Parking: Street parking

Monday, March 6, 2017

San Antonio Park

More or less centered between Aviation Highway to the south and west, Kino Parkway to the east, and Broadway to the north, is this little gem. David Aber found it on January 28th and sent these photos. He wrote:
It’s a pocket park of about 3/4 acre. It is designed for families. For the parents, it has shaded seating and tables, a charcoal grill, and a message board. For the children, It has a sandy play area with lots of toys and activities. [There's also] some shade and a water fountain.
Now for five photos:

Location: The easiest way to get here, by bike or car, is to head south on Highland from Broadway. After the bend, turn right (west) on 14th and go one block. (Or click the address below for a Google Map.)

Hours: Daytime hours. No streetlights.

Parking: Street parking.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Take a break on Marvelous Meyer

Just south of the Convention Center — where the Barrio Viejo starts — after you walk past the historic Teatro Carmen, Meyer Avenue looks uninviting. There's some dilapidated fencing, a block-long vacant lot, and lots of Tucson-strength sun. Keep walking.

Another block or two south are some fun residences. You'll pass a private museum with a dreamy mural on the south side.

A bit farther south is another mural showing the history of the Barrio.

Halfway between 17th and 18th Streets, on the shady west side of the street, is a perfect place to rest and take in the neighborhood — which, by now, has changed from looking like old Tucson to looking like modern-emulating-old Tucson. The architecture is modern. Look up and you'll see a mural/sign ”La Frontera”. (Click there to see photos of the mural being made, and a close-up taken from the height of the mural, on the Tucson Murals Project blog.)

Underneath is a mosaic-topped bench:

(I used my favorite free Photoshop-like editor, GIMP, to darken the sunny spot at the bottom between the left and middle edges.)

Location: Between doors to 630 and 648 South Meyer (I couldn't find an address for the building it's on, though I told Google Maps my guess of 640).

Hours: Daylight hours, I guess, though it might be interesting on a warm summer night. (The street is quiet. Please respect neighbors by being quiet yourself; thanks.)

Parking: Street parking (If you drive, you can park near this spot. If you walk from the north, there's no free parking near the Convention Center.)

Monday, January 2, 2017

Shady benches and Little Free Library

In the El Monte Neighborhood is this spot. It's shaded from the hot western sun. A Little Free Library is stocked with books; if you'd like to share, bring one along.

Location: A block west of Alvernon between Calle de Soto and Calle Ensenada

Parking: Parking along El Camino Del Norte is a tight squeeze. There's some parking in front of the homes on side streets.

Hours: Daylight hours

Monday, October 3, 2016

Bike Church

This is probably the smallest pocket park on this blog (so far). It's the Bike Church, built to honor bicyclists — mostly ones killed in traffic accidents.

Only a few people can fit inside. (If you feel like kneeling, there's nowhere except on the floor…)

The photos above are from 2010. Since then, the church is now on a concrete pad with other park-like features around it. Here's the area on September 28th. A path from the north side:

A little garden, bike rack, bench, an an area covered with brick:

Now the church is sitting on a platform instead of on the ground. Here's the view from the entrance:

This shows a bicycle along the wall with shadows from sun shining through the stained glass:

Location: North of downtown on Granada, just south of the railroad tracks.

Parking: A parking lot behind the church or along Davis Street.

Hours: There are a couple of streetlights in the area, but you'll probably want to come while it's sunny so you can see the stained glass.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Desert Sanctuary at Immanuel Presbyterian Church

David Aber told me about this spot — on the east side of town, near 22nd & Harrison. It's almost three acres (350 x 350 feet) of desert environment with dirt paths, benches, foot bridge, ramada, fire pit, maze/labyrinth, and a multi-sided column with messages in several languages. He visits often because it's a great place for wildflowers. But he also points out that the only shade is under the ramada, and there's no water. David sent these photos to give you a good idea of the place.

Here's the column and some benches for contemplation:

David wrote that it “has two words on the side that I photographed — Dodolimdag and Vrede. Dodolimdag is Pima/Tohono O’odham meaning peace. Vrede is Dutch, also meaning peace. Presumably, the other sides also have words meaning peace.”

Views of the rest of the parklet:

Thanks so much, David!

Location: Southeast of the church buildings and parking lot. Directly south of Saguaro Eastside Medical Group at 9302 E. 22nd. Here's a Google satellite view.

Parking: You can use the church parking lot, though it might be polite to leave spaces for churchgoers during services and other events. (The church website is During weekends, you can also use the Saguaro Eastside Medical Group, then walk south into the parklet; there's easy access to the trails from there.

Hours: Always open, but no light at night… and, as David points out, desert critters (like rattlesnakes) may be visiting at night, too. (Still: Walking a labyrinth under the full moon can be magical — especially on a warm summer evening.)

Monday, July 4, 2016

A pocket park in your complex

As I've mentioned before, your neighborhood can set up a parklet to bring neighbors together… or just sit yourself… at almost no cost, with much benefit.

Here's a photo of a little spot at a friend's apartment complex that sits next to a former dumpster pad. It used to be desolate; now it's a pleasure: