Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Guest View: Kathryn Hull-Butkus ~ An open letter to the mayor and council

Shelve Main Streets La Canada location
I would like to continue my encouragement for the town to shelve Main Streets – La Canada. I will remind everyone that the constituency voted by a large margin for change; not more of the same. I can guarantee you that you will get push back, and if I were the new kids on the block I would not want to start out my tenure with a contentious project. I would not recommend forcing the project (as the former mayor did with the community center and golf courses) as that will not sit well with the constituents who voted for change.

The proposed site on La Canada has precious few businesses that fit the model of “walking, shopping, gathering.” There is no bakery, deli, women’s fashions, etc., the kinds of business conducive to that model. Canada Crossroads (SW corner of La Canada and Lambert) fits that model better. There’s a bakery, a jewelry store, a book store and two restaurants with patio dining. I’ve made a couple of suggestions to Mr. Johnston (Director of Community and Economic Development) to complete that site to the suggested model of the Main Streets walking and gathering place.

Filling the Fry’s void
Fry’s, the anchor of the proposed Main Streets site, is leaving. This begs the question -- will you continue to move forward with a project that portends contention or will you try to fill the void? May I suggest that you attempt to fill the void with a Trader Joe’s. It would be very successful. The residents of the area would get behind it, and the residents of that area have coin to spend. I am very sure that the town has a list of inducements to bring in that kind of business, up to and including a dedicated person to assist and speed the permit process.

This leaves the corner where the gas station is located (which I believe is part of the Kroger store.) As it has imbedded electrical, plumbing and water, you might be able to put in a “pocket park.” Like my suggestions to Mr. Johnston regarding Canada Crossroads; a couple of brightly colored sail shades, a bench or two, a small restroom, a water fountain with a spigot for the dog population. The town gets a specialty market, there’s a gathering spot, and every one saves face.

Consider a historical/western theme for Main Streets Oracle Road location
The second location for Main Streets, near Steam Pump Ranch, makes more sense as it’s the main drag for the town. There wouldn’t be much in the way of demo and you could do a western type theme, making it a niche/unique/historical Oro Valley destination in keeping with the western locale.

Involve the residents, put out a call to OV architects, or U of A architecture students who have parents/grandparents in OV, get the OV Historical Society involved, etc.

I respectfully make these suggestions and I hope that you will shelve the contentious La Canada location.

Editor’s note: The above letter has been edited slightly and subheadings were added.


Ms. Hull-Butkus “escaped Los Angeles” four years ago, moving to Oro Valley which she refers to as “the uniquely beautiful green valley of gold.” She feels strongly about keeping it this way. She believes that if we continue to raise our voices, that we can “keep this valley green.” She is a member of the Newcomers Club of Tucson, and through that organization, supports “Single Mom Scholars,” a local charity serving young women who are raising children on their own and who desire to complete their education.