Mission Gardens may move forward regardless of Rio Nuevo funds

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The Rio Nuevo board has cut off funding to a lot of projects. But there's one in particular the Tucson community has decided it doesn't want to lose. So, they've set out to raise their own money.

The project is Mission Garden, an historical garden on Tucson's west side that has a lot of history behind it.

When voters approved Rio Nuevo funding in 1999, Mission Garden was supposed to be reconstructed. It looks like that'll finally happen, Rio Nuevo funds or not.

Mission Garden is more than a garden. You just can't tell, right now.

"When this Mission Garden is completed it will interpret Tucson's 4,000 year agricultural history," said Jonathan Marby.

There isn't much to see at Mission Garden, although their should be. The garden remains in construction limbo. It should've been built about 11 years ago. But somewhere along the way, the vision was lost after funding to reconstruct the garden was taken away. The project was one of many scheduled to be completed with Rio Nuevo funds.

"There's not any available funding from the district, so we're doing our best to bring in outside funding," said Jonathan Marby.

Jonathan Marby, Tucson's historic preservation officer, says Rio Nuevo funds dried up for the project once our nation went into a recession. Members of the community have since found other funding. 30,000 has been donated to the project thanks to the friends of Tucson's birthplace and the Arizona forestry division. No one hear wants to see the project continue to waste away.

"And those elements of Rio Nuevo have to continue," said Tucson Councilwoman Regina Romero.  "They must continue whether we have TIFF funds, whether we partner with Pima County, with the Federal Government."

"We're hoping that the Rio Nuevo Board will see the progress and remember the voters approved reconstruction of Mission Garden in 1999," said Marby.

At least $15,000 more would bring Mission Garden to fruition. Make the garden a real garden, rich with history.