Falling Off the Turnip Truck

I fell off the proverbial turnip truck shortly after I purchased property in Armory Park almost ten years ago.

I arrived in the neighborhood full of hope and vision. I was thrilled to have found such a lovely neighborhood in which I could establish my business. As I looked at the property that used to house Central Alarm, I began to see ways to make it more homey and welcoming–especially with natural light through windows.

Living on 4 acres in west Tucson at the time, I was used to doing whatever I wanted and when I wanted on my property…without having to consult anybody. My independent streak was also rooted in the soil of my home state, Wyoming–true cowboy country with lots of open prairie and very few people. Its history includes being the first state to give women the vote. Continue reading “Falling Off the Turnip Truck”

Local Hotel Gets Published

Bill Duffy spotted an article in Arizona Highways highlighting our very own Downtown Clifton Hotel. If you want to see their piece, go to https://www.arizonahighways.com/eat-sleep/lodging/downtown-clifton. They also have their own website at http://downtowntucsonhotel.com/. It is a small place with classic decor elements and modowntown-cliftondern amenities.

They have plans to add rooms on the vacant lot immediately south of the hotel. The presentation made to the APNA board by co-owner Moniqua Lane made her project sound like a great addition to the community. I plan to do an article on the project when it gets a little further along.

If you have out of town visitors needing lodging, consider our AP hotel, the Downtown Clifton.

We Love Armory Park

Last night Donna and I joined a large number of our AP neighbors at another wonderful annual Armory Park holiday party. As usual APNA furnished the beverages plus the main menu items of turkey and ham. The neighbors brought snacks, side dishes and desserts. We sat at a table on the side porch and enjoyed stimulating conversation while savoring the meal. The conversation covered many subject but finally got around to discussing what we could do to improve and maintain the appearance of our public areas, streets and sidewalks. Continue reading “We Love Armory Park”

Unexpected Controversy?

My announced intention to cover neighborhood meetings (APNA & APHZAB) may have stirred up a controversy — or maybe not. I feel strongly that a community is strengthened by more communications, not less. So I was somewhat surprised by Jack’s post on the listserv which may represent a controversy — or it could be a  misunderstanding. I feel that Jack and I are both trying to preserve the character of our neighborhood and to improve it whenever we can. This is his post. Continue reading “Unexpected Controversy?”

Why do we care about WU HPZ rezoning?

I have recently attended two meetings where rezoning and removal of a property from the West University Historic Preservation Zone were discussed. You want to know why you should care about that; I will explain shortly.

The property in question is the Trinity Presbyterian Church on the corner of 4th Avenue and University Blvd. The first meeting was an informal presentation to neighborhood residents about the property. The second, earlier this week, was a formal city hearing about the rezoning and HPZ withdrawal. This was the more important one. Continue reading “Why do we care about WU HPZ rezoning?”

Thefts Around the ‘Hood

We have seen many posts on the listserv about items being stolen from AP residences. Last night was my turn. An LED Christmas light projector was stolen from our front yard. A hula hoe landscape tool was used to pull the projector close enough to the fence to pick it up. The tool (evidence?) was left behind.

The subject of these property crimes has two parts for me. First, though it is irritating it is also a part of living in a city center. Most people in our area are responsible and contributing members of society. Some are economically and ethically challenged. Like ants at the picnic, we must deal with them if we want to enjoy the many benefits of our neighborhood. Continue reading “Thefts Around the ‘Hood”

APHZAB & APNA Elections & Meeting

Last night elections were held for the boards of the two organizations important to the welfare of our neighborhood. The Historic Advisory Board had only one vacancy caused by term expiration for Jack McLain, that board’s president. He was willing to run again and no others were nominated so Jack was reelected by acclamation.

Elections were also held for the Neighborhood Association Board and officers. Complete results will be published soon but these are the choices I noted: Anne Cooper who had been filling a board vacancy by appointment will now serve as Vice-President and is in line for the presidency in 2018. John Burr agreed to serve another year as president to facilitate a smooth transition to Anne and the members validated that move. Mark Crum and Nadine Rund agreed to continue their long service and were reelected to the board. There will be one drop of new blood on the board as Dee Dee Means was elected to her first term on the board. My poor notes failed to capture the election of our secretary and treasurer. Continue reading “APHZAB & APNA Elections & Meeting”

What a Community!

One of the things making AP such a great place to live is the sense of community. Last night, Halloween, took that sense up a notch. Special thanks to Janet Miller who promoted the idea of a neighborhood trick or treat effort and even put a map of “treater” locations on a map published via our listserv. Thanks also to the many neighbors who “treated” the kids so generously. Donna and I bought candy while on our travels so we would be ready upon returning home. We had about 40 “trickers” and ran entirely out of treats.

There were many positive comments on the listserv; here is one: “That really was our favorite Halloween ever! Thank you, neighbors, for making our little trick-or-treaters so happy & showing them the value of a wonderful community and neighborhood. We are so grateful to raise our little ones here! P.s. The puppet show was such a treat for kids & adults.”

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I feel so fortunate to live in such a special place.

Ken Taylor blog@kmtaylor.com

Things Are Looking Up

We just returned from the beauty and challenge of the red rocks of Moab and Sedona. Our modified Geo Tracker “Toby” took us to places most vehicles could not go. It was fun but we also had a treat on returning home.

The cooler fall temperatures seem to have inspired a lot of clean-up around the hood. Our location near 4th and 17th had a couple of challenging spots for walking and they have really been spruced up. Thanks to those property owners for making our neighborhood more walkable and MUCH more attractive. Making our usual morning rounds we observed a number of properties along 4th Avenue looking tidier.


As the temperatures are more friendly for outdoor work, I hope momentum will build for individual and group efforts to clean up our public spaces. Perhaps the volunteer group from earlier this year will resume efforts to trim around stop signs and along sidewalks. I will be glad to join in.

Ken Taylor blog@kmtaylor.com


Let’s Keep Armory Park Walkable

Donna, Lulu Small black dog) and I walk the sidewalks of Armory Park every day we are in town. We enjoy the historic ambiance and the nice people we meet along the way. We also collect and dispose of trash since it is a good use of the time we are already taking to stroll. The only problem we regularly encounter is the untamed vegetation along some sidewalks which are something of an obstacle course. On the listserv, Phyllis has reminded us of the legal obligations in the city code for all property owners and tenants: 

Sec. 16-13. Exterior premises and vacant land.

(a) Accumulation of vegetation prohibited. Each owner, lessee, tenant, resident or occupant shall maintain a property so it is free of the accumulation or untended growth of vegetation. The accumulation or untended growth of vegetation means the presence of plants on property that create a fire, safety or health hazard, or that attract vermin either on the property, on neighboring properties, or on both, and includes but is not limited to:

(1) Any lawn grass that exceeds six (6) inches in height.

(2) All weeds that exceed six (6) inches in height.

(3) Dead trees or dead shrubs.

(4) Dead palm fronds within ten (10) feet of the ground, a structure, a fence or wall, or of any combustible other than the tree from which the fronds have grown;

(5) Any tree, shrub, or other form of vegetation of any kind on the property or on the adjoining right-of-way, street, or alley that extends over or under the sidewalk space or roadway in a manner that may interfere with the reasonable use of the street, sidewalk, or alley for pedestrian or vehicular traffic of any kind or that may obstruct the view or light distribution of traffic-control devices or luminaries. Vegetation must be trimmed and maintained to provide an unobstructed pedestrian path a minimum of forty eight (48) inches in width and eighty (80) inches in height from grade.

My preference  is to take a positive approach to keeping our public spaces passable and attractive. Involving city code enforcement should only be used with those such as absentee landlords who are unresponsive to positive efforts. Those of us who live in and love Armory Park are likely to do what is right with a little encouragement. If most community improvements are “grass roots” based, they are more likely to gain wider resident support. I want to encourage “bottom up” efforts to enhance our neighborhood. 

The first thing any of us can do is to keep the public area fronting our homes tidy. After you have taken that step, please encourage your Armory Park friends and neighbors to do likewise. For those areas without a responsive resident, informal trimming parties could do the job. This has precedent as recently as the first part of the year when a group was doing trimming to make stop signs more visible. I hope this group will reactivate and even broaden its efforts. I will be happy to participate. 

The bottom line is that we have a pleasant and historic community. We should not rely on the city or APNA to help it reach full potential. You and I should take on that job.

Ken Taylor blog@kmtaylor.com