Sam Hughes Neighborhood National Historic District
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Sam Hughes Neighborhood Association, Tucson, Arizona

Himmel Park Library Beautification Project

This is a project initiated by three residents of the Sam Hughes midtown neighborhood: Denice Blake, Betty Guarraia, and Susan Peters. In an effort to meet our objective to spend a small amount of the resources from the biennual home tour, we first came up with four guiding principles that would ultimately benefit midtown neighborhoods: high visibility, aesthetic appeal, education, and collaboration. To meet those objectives, we have selected Himmel Park Library for external beautification. Donate below.New

Kgun 9 on Himmel Park Library Beautification Project



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Why this project?

The library is a brick structure that anchors the popular midtown Himmel Park.  The building itself has very recently undergone interior remodeling.  The 52-year old library, the oldest branch in the Pima County Library System, is extremely well-used at approximately 25,000 door entries per month.  The library sits on a corner with all four sides visible from two streets.

Unfortunately, the grounds appear to be long-neglected.  There are two deciduous trees on the right-hand side of the entrance along with overgrown, woody lantana.  The left side of the entrance is covered with gravel.  The north side is comprised of weeds and several evergreen trees and bushes in need of pruning.

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The south and west sides are bare with the exception of chain link fences surrounding mechanical structures. The grass near the entranceway is trampled to such an extent as to appear to be mostly dirt.  There is no signage on the building. There is one bike rack and one small bench near the front door, but no other seating. There are four trees but no other landscaping in the front quadrant. Irrigation is via a sprinkler system that sprays the grass and dirt.

As is true in most cities, funding is available for little more than routine maintenance. Our group believes that if residents, library patrons, those who care about the aesthetics of their local environment and other potential stakeholders don't act, who will? We believe this project is a fine example of Margaret Mead's observation, "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed it's the only thing that ever has."

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What has been accomplished so far?

Collaboration began with Pima County Library System and Tucson Parks and Recreation, which manages Himmel Park. Working with graduate students from the University of Arizona School of Landscape Architecture, we solicited 10 landscape plans. Neighborhood residents and community activists viewed the plans, which our committee is now using to create a single plan to be approved by Tucson Parks and Recreation. This plan will guide us as we hire contractors and solicit donations to execute the project.

Ideas we've come up with so far: increased walkways, additional bike racks and seating, landscaping with decomposed granite and drought-tolerant plants placed in mounds and swales, additional trees, implementation of a drip system, and art work --- including a memorial to a popular, recently-deceased children's librarian. See accompanying before/after pictures.  The "after" renderings and landscape plan are by Malerie Gamboa, a University of Arizona graduate student.

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How Can You Help?

1) Spread the word to friends and neighbors, businesses that might be willing to donate material, and other neighborhoods that use the library and the park.
2) Follow us on this website where we will update our progress and where you can find out how you can donate materials, labor, and funding.
3) Your donation to the Himmel Park Beautification Project is fully tax-deductible.  You may donate below using Paypal with your Credit or Debit Card.
If you wish to write a check, please make it out to SHNA but write "HPBP" in the memo area.  
Mail to SHNA, PO Box 42931, Tucson, Az. 85733.

There is a $600 matching grant that expires Oct. 31


An Important Fact:  Although this project is not at all exclusive to the Sam Hughes neighborhood, we are using the 501 c (3) tax status of the association.

If you have questions, comments or suggestions, please address them to  himmelproject@gmail.com with "HPBP" in the subject line.

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