TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Tucson's first deck park, or plaza as it is now being called, is entering its final design phase.
It will sit above the new downtown links roadway being built as a bypass around downtown. Cars will drive underneath the railroad tracks and the park just west of the Stone Avenue bridge.
The plaza will be about a quarter acre in size and will connect neighborhoods north of 6th to downtown. One of those neighborhoods is Dunbar Spring. Daniela Diamente lives two blocks from the deck plaza.
"For many of us, myself included and the neighborhood I represent, Dunbar Spring, this is a deal breaker for us if it doesn't happen," she said.
The deck plaza subcommittee and the project team are finalizing some of the details such as colors, maintenance, placement of fountains, shade structures and bathroom amenities.
Tom Fisher, the project manager for the city of Tucson believes the park design should be finished sometime in March.
The importance of the park for the area residents is that it connects neighborhoods to offset the roadway which divides them.
Planning graduate student Janelle Curry says "the neighborhoods need to be connected to downtown otherwise we has disruption."
Most agree it's a good use of space but there are some who are concerned about the new plaza close to downtown.
"You're going to have people sleeping in that park the same way as you've got people sleeping in the park as you come down 22nd," says Julie Natividad. "I don't think it's a good idea."
But that's something that has been discussed by the committee and there are concerns.
"It's one where the more we occupy, the less we have to worry about others, transients using it for purposes we don't want to see," Diamente says.
The hope is the plaza will be occupied by enough neighborhood events that it will discourage people from sleeping in the the park as happens often downtown.
The plaza will cost about $3 million, more than twice what a conventional pedestrian bridge would cost.
"But this is money well spent," Curry says. "Connectivity is always going to be important."
And this will also serve as a gathering place for the neighborhoods.
"It's going to be a gorgeous space," Diamente says.
She has two children who ride bicycles and their safety is also a concern, especially if they must cross a busy roadway.
The plaza eases those concerns.
"We'll be able to access through the multi-use park and it will take us all the way down over the snake bridge, the basket bridge and access other neighborhoods without ever interacting with cars," she says.