Tucson has potential. The weather is great. Summer is much cooler than Phoenix-Scottsdale, and the summer monsoon storms are refreshing and spectacular to watch. The mountains become their greenest in the summer too. I love all the seasons here, especially the summer.
We loved living here in the late 1990’s, and did not like Phoenix or Scottsdale as much (with all do respect). So, we moved back to Tucson almost two years ago. Our biggest surprise was how nothing had really changed. How did Tucson go through the boom years and the downtown looks the same as it did 15 years ago? In Scottsdale and Phoenix, it seemed that every other week a new building, park, store, or something else was going up. Beautiful buildings and new businesses that brought with them high paying jobs.
Now some might say that the lack of development has been Tucson’s strength. And that Phoenix-Scottsdale is just “a little LA (Los Angeles) now“. I understand that argument. I do like the quietness, slower pace, and more open spaces of Tucson. However, it is disappointing to see good clean businesses, and even industries now, packing up and leaving Tucson. We lost the Chicago White Sox to Glendale, and now the Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies have announced they are leaving. Today, the Arizona Republic reported, “A Tucson jinx on the Suns“, and so it looks like the Phoenix Suns training camp is headed to San Diego.
Well, at least we have the Gem Show. Oh no!…I forgot that in February the Associated Press reported, “Future of Tucson gem show uncertain“. One U of A alumni friend of mine, who resides in Scottsdale, jokingly says, “Tucson is the largest nine dollar an hour economy in the country“. That produces a sad laugh in many here.
I am not sure what the answer is, but I know it lies in Vision and Leadership. Tucson has so much to offer, and has the potential to attract clean businesses and industries. However, it does not currently have the dynamic leadership with vision, nor a TEAM (ironically), that can sell Tucson as a great place to locate a business.