Sunshine Mile merchants put on a show and build support - Tucson News Now

Sunshine Mile merchants put on a show and build support

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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

A blast from the past has come to Broadway Boulevard as merchants and residents dress like the Fifties and Sixties are here again.

"Modernism Week is a celebration of Tucson's mid-century modern cultural resources.  Our architecture, our artists , our style, Tucson transformed after World War II," said Demion Clinco, with the Tucson Historic Preservation Foundation.

The Sunshine Mile stretches from Country Club to Euclid.  Stores will have window displays that reach back to that time.  A pop-up store of mid-Twentieth Century furniture and furnishings will be open at Broadway and Country Club this weekend.

But the event also aims to build support for merchants who worry about what widening Broadway will do to their business.

"The buildings along Broadway are at risk from a road widening project. That could potentially damage 150 of them," Clinco said.

"Every month there's another business.  There's businesses closing. It's the same as the rest of the town. There would be more investment if we had an end point and a firm width right now. And I see nothing but positive vibes for the future for this area," said Rocco DiGrazia, owner of Rocco's Little Chicago Pizzeria and a member of the citizen task force that is proposing changes to the widening.

The task force and citizens have been meeting for fifteen months and discussing how to improve Broadway without harming businesses.  But Thursday Pima County administrator Chuck Huckelberry sent a memorandum to the county transportation director that did call for some aspects of the project to stay in place.  He wrote:

"If the City fails to widen Broadway Boulevard to a full six-lane, median-divided roadway, including bike lanes, the City will not be eligible for the County HURF funding allocated it to the project."

HURF stands for Highway User Revenue Fund, which comes from the state.

Huckelberry also called for county money to go elsewhere if the widening project did not meet those requirements:

"I suggest the entire $25 million be allocated to pavement preservation projects that are the responsibility of the County."

The memo seemed to go against the process that city council member Steve Kozachik had witnessed between planners, businesses, and citizens.

"You can still preserve the businesses. But for him to do this shot across the bow isn't necessary.  It is demoralizing for the task force," said Kozachik, who represents Ward 6.

But the task force will continue to work.  DiGrazia says funding is not what he'll worry about as they continue to discuss what's best for the area.

"Be that as it may, that's not my job and I'll do my best as a task force member to affect the change that my people want," DiGrazia said.

Visit TucsonMod.org. and SunshineMile.com for event schedules

The pop-up store is open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, on the southside of Broadway west of Country Club.

Copyright 2013 Tucson News Now. All rights reserved.

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