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May 31, 2012 10:19 AM

UA architecture students look to revitalize downtown

TUCSON- For years city planners have looked at ways to revitalize downtown, now some University of Arizona architecture students may have the answer.

For the past couple of years the grad students have been working on a project called "The New Old Pueblo". "We did a lot of research on successful strategies used in other cities," UA Grad Student Julia Roberts says.

Roberts is one of 17 students who worked with Architecture Professor Mark Frederickson to design the plan. It includes creating more green space, pedestrian paths and even a soccer stadium near the base of "A" Mountain. "That was in response to a lot of information we're getting from the popularity of soccer and the likelihood that we'll get a professional team here," Frederickson.

The other major part of the plan involves water. It calls for bringing water back to the Santa Cruz River between Congress and 22nd Street. "We had looked at some old photographs of the Santa Cruz River and my gosh there were people on boats and it was just beautiful," Frederickson says.

The group already ran some of their plan by Tucson Water and city leaders, who they say are optimistic about the project.

The collaboration gave Roberts a chance to see what it would be like to have a career in landscape architecture. "It challenged me to look at not only the ecological and biological issues with landscape architecture, but also really focus on functional issues and economic ones," Roberts says.

They're all skills the students will hopefully use again the future to make Tucson the city of the Southwest.

The students are planning to present their official proposal to the City of Tucson in the fall.

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