On the northwest corner of Stone and Pennington, there lies a sea of red bistro tables and chairs, accompanied by people talking business while others are simply enjoying a bite to eat.
The Downtown Tucson Partnership is now offering an outdoor work space in an effort to revitalize Jacome Plaza. The space is available on weekdays from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
“It just going to open up for people to come out, meet their colleagues, read a book, have lunch. It’s a welcoming open space and we really need this in the downtown,” said Kathleen Erickson, CEO of the Downtown Tucson Partnership.
El Rio Health provided $15,000 to sponsor the project.
The space is also fitted with free Wi-Fi, a host of life-size games and around-the-clock security.
Erickson noted one of the goals is to fully utilize the Jacome Plaza for live performances, fitness classes and outdoor movies.
But not everyone is too thrilled about the idea. Gilbert Cunanan is one of those people. He’s been living on the streets since April, alongside the many other homeless people who hang out around Jacome Plaza.
“It does kind of worry me because we don’t have a place to stay,” said Cunanan said. “It’s kind of like, hard for us because they’re pushing out of the way.”
Erickson stressed the goal is make Jacome Plaza a place for everyone, not to push people out.
Downtown Tucson Partnership has a program called DTP Connects to provide social services to people in need. It’s working in conjunction with the outdoor work space project.
“This is a concerted effort where we are trying to help the people in need,” Erickson said.
Tucsonan Bobby Saavedra spent his lunch break at the outdoor work space. He compliments the effort to enhance downtown.
“I think it’s fantastic. Tucson is a big melting pot of people. We’ve got all kinds of walks of life out here so it’s good to see an area where we can all get together and do whatever you need for the day.”