TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Five Points, the point south of downtown Tucson where South Sixth and South Stone avenues intersect with 18th Street, is getting new-found attention from the city of Tucson. And this time, not just because it is the only intersection of its kind in the city.
A once neglected area where four neighborhoods meet, Five Points is becoming the overflow for a burgeoning downtown.
The Barrio Viejo, Barrio Santa Rita, Santa Rosa Park and Armory Park neighborhoods have been quiet communities in the shadow of downtown for decades.
Now that space downtown is harder to get and becoming very expensive, outer neighborhoods are seeing the shadow engulfing them.
"Everything is moving this way," said Tom Epperson, owner of Wanslee Auto. "We've been overlooked for so many years."
"The mayor and council are encouraging growth into the neighborhoods," said Lane Mandel, a spokesperson with the City Manager's office.
A $400,000 art project is in final design and could see approval by the end of the year, according to Tucson City Engineer Jesse Soto, the project manager.
The hope is, it's enough to build five archways over the five streets leading up to the Five Points intersection.
"If not, we'll see how far the money stretches," Soto said.
Each would contain the unique characteristics of the neighborhoods. New sidewalks and trees already line some of the streets but the hope is to plant many, many more.
"Just make the area a little prettier, a little nicer," Epperson said.
Some area businesses invested in Five Points years ago and hope to stay while the area grows up around them.
Miriam Coy owns Five Points flowers, a business she started 20 years ago. A Colombia natives, she still imports all of her flowers from Colombia.
"The stay fresher longer," she said.
She chose the neighborhood because she liked "the area, the people, the history."
Now, she's a bit sad about the gentrification but says, "We can all get along."
She's heard the talk before and nothing happened but believes this will be different.
"The time is right. It's going to be a reality," she said.
Epperson echos the sentiment that "this time it feels like it's going to get done."