Those ugly fights have not gone unnoticed by residents of other downtown neighborhoods, who recently joined West University to form what they’re calling the Core Barrios and Neighborhoods Coalition, or CoreBANC. So far, the coalition includes 22 neighborhoods, ranging from Menlo Park on the west and Santa Rita Park on the south, to Dunbar/Spring, Barrio Viejo and Feldman’s in the middle.
It marks the latest effort by these communities to resurrect the scrappy clout they held in the 1970s and 1980s, when neighborhoods blocked a planned expressway that would have bulldozed 45 historic homes, and helped stop an earlier student high-rise near the UA.
Their watershed moment occurred in 1985, when voters approved the Neighborhood Protection Amendment, mandating approval at the ballot box for major new roadways.
In years following, however, without big battles to rally around, neighborhood activism began to ebb. Now that may be about to change.
In the aftermath of massive, serial zoning overlays by the City Council, there’s a strong sense among neighborhoods that developers are again running City Hall.
That perception only hardened when it was revealed that the student-housing builder, Chicago-based Campus Acquisitions, was intimately involved in helping city planners create an overlay zone in the West University Neighborhood.
Now the neighborhoods want to take some of that power back. The first step was creating an organization that existed at arm’s length from the city and its various organs, including the Downtown Tucson Partnership, and a group called the Downtown Neighborhoods and Residents Council, or DNARC.