Tucson to invest millions into preserving Fort Lowell Park

Published: Mar. 17, 2023 at 9:11 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (13 News) - Pima County leaders will vote on an intergovernmental agreement to pump nearly $3 million into preserving Fort Lowell Park in mid-town Tucson.

“I go over there a lot and just walk around,” said Frank Flasch, a member of the Old Fort Lowell Neighborhood Association. “It’s a real treasure.”

The restoration work on that treasure has already begun. Workers are repairing and replacing 150-year-old adobe bricks, preserving an area with a rich history and a park with very rich diversity.

“It’s centrally located, they’ve got soccer, they’ve got baseball, they have water resources, tennis,” said Ward Six city council member Steve Kozachik. “There’s a lot going on over there plus the historic elements.”

It’s those historical elements that make Fort Lowell Park unique to Tucson parks. It has a 150-year history dating back to the Apache wars when the warrior Geronimo was briefly detained here and as many as 200 soldiers were stationed there.

It’s that history the $3 million will preserve, but it’s the family-friendly foundation the park possesses that will also be maintained.

“I would like to see it used more, in fact I think the park has been underutilized for years,” Flasch said. “So I’m excited about it being used more.”

The money being used to sustain the park’s amenities comes from the 2018 bond election, where city voters approved $225 million to maintain their parks and other amenities.

The voters overwhelmingly approved the package. The preservation has been a long time coming. The preservation aspect became a serious topic of conversation in 2009, but money was hard to come by because of the Great Recession.

But thanks to voters, there’s a budget to go along with the desire.

“The voters overwhelmingly approved it and it really demonstrated to the community generally how much the voters in Tucson values our parks as amenities to our quality of life,” Kozachik said.

The park is owned by the city, which will maintain it and pay for it through bond money, but the county will preserve its history. That agreement will be voted on by the county next week.