Monday, May 6, 2019

Prospective Pocket Park near Grant & Country Club

Back on February 18th, I saw the KGUN 9 TV story Midtown neighborhood association aims to keep vagrants out of nearby parklet. The neighborhood was planning a pocket park; the video showed what looked like an empty lot with some bushes and trees. If the neighborhood was strong enough to call for help and be on TV news, I thought the spot might be developed soon. So I waited a few months to see what happened.

I stopped by yesterday. The bushes were flowering, but not much else seemed to have changed. The video showed an interview with the neighborhood association president and mentioned that the parklet is owned by the Tucson Department of Transportation.

For now, you'll want to bring your own chairs, etc. The trees don't provide much shade.

Location: Take Edison east from Country Club or Rita south from Grant.

Hours: 7 am to 7 pm (the neighborhood seems to be serious about this…)

Parking: Street parking

Monday, February 4, 2019

Parklet patios and art-filled walls at TMC

Where can you find 10 or 20 parklets within a couple hundred feet of each other? That would be the main hospital building at Tucson Medical Center. Most of the patient rooms surround landscaped interior patios, and all of those patios are accessible from the main hospital hallways.

Some patios have a theme. For instance, the Hummingbird Patio is designed to attract hummingbirds; there's information along the wall inside. As time goes on, more patios are being landscaped in special ways — thanks to TMC Foundation donors.

If it's a hot day, TMC is a place to come for the great art that's being added along the hallways — again, thanks to donors. A curator chooses the art, and it's high-quality.

Want to stretch your legs? Pick up a map at one of the information desks, or use their website and app from to navigate the endless air-conditioned hallways. There are several cafes, and the main cafeteria has a salad bar that's been fresh and tasty every time I've tried it. (I asked the curator of the art program; she says that there's currently no map showing where the art is. I think they're adding it so quickly that it's hard to keep a map up to date!) Here's a section of the map showing a number of named patios:

I took the photos on May 25, 2018. The website screen shot was made January 29, 2019.

LOCATION: The main hospital building, north of Grant between Beverly and Craycroft. The entrance at the southwest corner is almost directly across the street from the parking garage, but it's closed at night.

HOURS: 24 hours (though Security may ask questions if they spot you wandering the halls late at night). A fair number of patios are unlit, and remember that there are patients trying to rest in the rooms surrounding some patios.

PARKING: During days and early evenings, you'll probably have the best luck at one of the parking garages. The small surface lot near the southwest entrance is best left for Emergency Room patients.

Monday, January 7, 2019

Eastside City Hall Outdoor Enhancement

Not far from the previous parket, this “outdoor enhancement” to people in Tucson city government (as it's named on a plaque) is a “parklet” to me. David Aber, who found the place and sent photos on August 9, 2018, mentioned that the building also serves as the home to City Council Ward 2.

Let’s start with an overview showing the three wooden benches, ashtray and a mosaic stream on the east side of the main entrance. A tree (just off the left edge of the photo, behind the closer bench) gives some shade:

The mosaic “pond” underneath the (metal?) “pussywillow” has desert flora plus a Gila Monster and turtle:

There are other clever places for art in this little spot. One is a utility payment drop box with a sheet metal cut-out of a saguaro. Another is a utility box with a mosaic mural and a big sign about dumping…

The plaque I mentioned lists, along with the people who helped create this place, the artist as Mark Flickinger.

Hours: During the day, at least

Parking: Street parking

Location: On the north side of Speedway, a few blocks east of Pantano Wash

Monday, May 7, 2018

Pantano Wash and Home Depot

I don't think this parklet has a name or an address. It's at the northwest corner of the parking lot for the Home Depot store on Broadway, a couple of tenths of a mile west of Pantano. More important, it's next to the path that runs along the east bank of Pantano Wash.

Here's the view from the dirt path, which is kind of hidden in the trees:

There are four tables inside the fenced enclosure. The gate locks, but there's no sign with the opening hours. There's almost no shade from morning through mid-day:

Each table has splotches of color. They remind me of a child's work. You can see the Home Depot parking behind the table:

Hours: Unknown… probably during the day at least. There's a streetlight over the path that comes up from the wash, and there should be light from the parking lot too.

Parking: Home Depot lot.

Location: Across from the Home Depot Garden Center

Monday, April 2, 2018

Rosendo S. Perez Parklet

This pocket park may look familiar. It's on the south side of the former La Pilita Museum, just down the street from The El Tiradito Shrine and El Minuto Restaurant. The museum is closed, but this little spot is open.

As of this writing, the Tucson City page for the park is being developed. For now, it basically says:
This park is named in honor of Rosendo S. Perez who led neighbors in saving the park area and who spearheaded the effort to get El Tiradito Wishing Shrine on the National Register of Historic Places.
As you can see in the three photos below, you can sit around the compass and the fountain. (By the way, this area once had springs where people could drink, wash laundry, etc. As other springs around Tucson, this one is long-gone. Maybe the dry fountain is symbolic?) These photos are from September 28, 2016:

You can see some of the last ten years' history, and closeups of the blog, by starting from The Tucson Murals Project blog entry La Pilita Museum and then following the links at the end of that page.

Location: Just south of the Convention Center.

Parking: Street parking. Unless you park a few blocks south, you'll pay at a meter. (Or eat at El Minuto. I think the lot just south of the restaurant is free.)

Hours: Daylight hours

Monday, March 5, 2018

Brandi Fenton Memorial Park

Brandi Fenton passed away in March, 2003, at age 13. (Click there to read her obituary from the Arizona Daily Star.) Now a big park with sports fields — and a smaller Community Garden (which we'll focus on here) — are a memorial to her. This park has two main parts. The Garden is nestled in the bigger part: sports fields, a splash park, ramadas, an equestrian area…

There's much more on the park's TucsonTopia page. The Pima County page includes “Reserve a Ramada” a signup form and ramada photos, and more info about the park.

Now for some photos of the Community Garden:

More photos are on the Tucson Murals Project blog in the June 26, 2012 page Brandi Fenton Memorial Park.

Location: For the Community Garden, enter from the corner of Alvernon & River. (If you're coming from the east on River, continue through the stoplight into the park.) For most of the sports fields, enter from Dodge just south of Alvernon.

Hours: 7 AM - 10 PM. There are lights in the parking area and at the sports fields.

Parking: on-site

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.