Neighborhood marches to protect Rio Nuestro

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TUCSON, Ariz. -- The Rio Nuevo board filed a claim against the City of Tucson for $47 million and ownership of the area around the base of A Mountain and the Santa Cruz River.

What many may not know is, it's land considered to be the birth place of Tucson.  Saturday members of the community marched to protect it.

They march to the sound of the beat.  A group of about 30 gathered at the base of A Mountain to honor the people and land of Rio Nuestro.

"It was to make people aware that there is a neighborhood here that consists of people that had many generations of their family living here and residing here," said San Xavier District Tohono O'odham Chairman Austin Nunez.

The land that the group marched around is the same land that the Rio Nuevo board is trying to take ownership of as part of the suit against the City of Tucson.

"What is going on politically is that there's an effort to develop this area further with commercial and residential developments which would squeeze out the residents that are currently here," said Nunez.

In 1999, Rio Nuevo had the backing of some of the people that live in the area.  They were told that the project would be a historical development.

"We saw a possibility on strengthen our community by being part, we believed in Rio Nuevo from the beginning bu then so many politics and so much negative going on," said Josefina Contreras Cardenas from Protect Chuk Shon.

So now things are different and the group wants to see the land preserved and not used for development.

"The people want for the site to be respected," Contreras said. "No, we don't want to see development that is not according to the area."

Instead the people want to see a cultural center built to tell the history of their Rio Nuestro.

Right now the Rio Nuevo board and the City of Tucson aren't talking, at least not without their lawyers.

Both parties are preparing to enter mediation to resolve their legal disputes.