Downtown Dilemma

This week's cover story, by Chris Limberis, focuses on Back to Basics, the program that allows the mayor and City Council members to grant funds for improvements and renovations in their wards.

Mayor Bob Walkup, whose ward is the entire municipality, has given a disproportionate amount of his allocation to efforts downtown.

This begs the question: Is this really smart?

Walkup's heart and motivations are in the right place; I don't doubt that. I mean, given the choice between a vibrant, healthy downtown and a dead, crappy downtown, what would you choose for your city?

But let's face the facts: Downtown already has a lot of efforts--and money--behind it: the Downtown Alliance, Rio Nuevo, etc. And despite these best efforts, the vast majority of Tucsonans don't set foot downtown once a month, let alone once a week.

Therefore, should the mayor be placing such an emphasis on downtown, seeing as most of his constituents aren't directly affected by what happens there?

That's Mayor Walkup's call entirely, I guess.

It's worth repeating: We ALL want downtown to succeed, and it is something that all Tucsonans should try to make happen by supporting worthy downtown businesses and events.

But at a certain point, there can be too much support--when that support is yielding too little in the way of results and too much in the way of efforts, at the expense of the rest of the town.

I don't think Tucson's reached that point yet--but we should all be watching to make sure we don't.

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