Flowing Wells Neighborhood Association & Community Coalition

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Flowing Wells Revitalization Strategy Area Plan

FWNACC History

In the past Flowing Wells has partnered with Pima County in the preparation of two HUD-sponsored Neighborhood Revitalization Strategy Area (NRSA) Plans. NRSA helps Pima County and other government agencies, as well as non-profits, understand how to serve the needs of the Flowing Wells community with services and improvements.  The original Plan was completed in 2001, followed by an update in 2007. Those two plans have guided our Neighborhood Association and Community Coalition in developing numerous projects. 

The 2020 Plan, developed by Poster Mirto McDonald (project planner, Corky Poster), builds on the successes of the previous two plans and lays out a set of Goals and Strategies/Projects to carry Flowing Wells forward into the future. Attached is the Flowing Wells NRSA Update 2020.

To see the complete report by Corky, which is impressive and well worth a careful reading--or even a casual reading if you are pressed for time--go to the Pages & Links page under Documents. 

The Coalition History  In 1995, community residents concerned about safety and quality of life, joined together to form the Flowing Wells Neighborhood Association and Community Coalition (FWNACC).  

Initially, FWNACC activities included installing streetlights, reducing street flooding, and closing drug-houses. Much of the initial phase centered around graffiti abatement. In 2000, the FWNACC partnered with several organizations to develop and implement a 5-year Neighborhood Revitalization Strategy Plan (NRSP) that addresses many of the critical issues currently facing our community. In 2001, this plan was approved by the HUD and the Board of Supervisors.  In 2006 and 2011, the plan was extended for another 5 years.  

This area is boarded on the north by the Rillito River to W. Roger Road and N. Fairview Avenue to I-10. Since 1997 the FWNACC along with partners has brought over $69,000,000 in goods and services to our community. These projects include the development of two parks, a community center, a library, a health/dental center, a new Women’s, Infants, and Children (WIC) Center, the Pima County I'm Home housing project, the Pima County Get in the Zone (open storage and unregistered vehicle project), the development of the Flowing Wells Business Corridor, the development of a 133 single Homes project, etc.    

On May 21, 2003, FWNACC was approved by the Arizona Corporation Commission as a non-profit organization under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.  

During 2002-2003, the FWNACC organized and completed a major clean-up of the revitalization area. The 3.1 square miles were broken down into a manageable 28 sections which encompassed 166 to 225 homes each. The project included 19 different partners, 291 volunteers with a total of 1,715 hours of service to remove a total of 216 tons of trash. This was the first step towards bringing pride back to the neighborhood. We had a wonderful outpouring of assistance. There were many elderly neighbors that received assistance so that they could also participate. This program was such a success, we have shown other neighborhoods how to organize an event such as this.  

One of those partnered projects, Flowing Wells District Park was officially opened and dedicated on December 5, 2003. The FWNACC was involved with this project from the first day.  We had several members of the community on the concept design committee that met regularly.  This property was acquired by Pima County after the flood of 1983.  This property was proposed as an excellent site for the development of a community park.  Community representatives advocated to have the project added to the 1994 bond package that was passed by the voters.  Funding at $ 1.6 million was allotted for the first phase.  Numerous grants were authored by the FWNACC to all types of agencies and foundations to help complete the second phase in 2007.    

Another project, the Ellie Towne/Flowing Wells Community Center celebrated its grand opening in September 2007.  The 20,000 square foot facility has a campus style layout with four buildings and a central courtyard.  The public art portrays a flowing glass stream on the floor of the courtyard. This complex also houses the Flowing Wells Health Center.      

This property became available as a result of a major street improvement project.  The county purchased acreage in order to move an intersection to facilitate the flow of traffic.  This left a wonderful opportunity in its wake for the creation of not only a community center, but a master plan for the addition of a library and WIC Center at the three points of the Y-intersection. The local architect firm, Poster Mirto McDonald, worked with the community in designing this community activity hub. CDBG funds ($325,000) were utilized for the initial design.  Bond funds in the amount of $3,500,000 were utilized for the Phase I construction.  Phase II included the Flowing Wells Health Center. This property is maintained by Pima County Natural Resources Park and Recreation as part of their budget.    

The FWNACC had members of the community involved with the concept design committee from the beginning. Many meetings were held with residents regarding the difference of the wants vs. the needs.  More partnerships were established once the building was opened.  This is  truly a place for everyone in the neighborhood to take pride in.  The Health Center was dedicated in October 2008 as a result of a strong partnership of two diverse faith-based groups, the school district, and the community.  The Flowing Wells Library was built directly across the street from the community in 2008.  

In 2006 FWNACC began working with Pima County on the I'm Home Project as part of the Flowing Wells Revitalization. In partnership with Pima County, City of Tucson, Family Housing Resources, Fannie Mae Arizona Partnership Office, Arizona Manufactured Housing Industry Association and John Laswick, Consultant, we received $150,000 from CFED for this project.  We also received $171,000 in matching funds from Pima County, the City of Tucson, and the Manufactured home dealers.  If you lived in a mobile home over 20 years old and meet certain financial requirements, you were eligible for a brand new, low interest manufactured home in Flowing Wells designated renewal zone.  Twelve new manufactured homes were available to residents on a first-come-- first serve basis.  

The FWNACC was instrumental is the conveyance of property by a developer for the Curtis Neighborhood  Park. By working directly with the developer and the county we were not only successful in receiving property for the park development but were also able to negotiate the housing density for the adjacent land.  The Curtis Neighborhood Park that opened in 2007 is a hallmark of success for the Flowing Wells area.  It is a perfect example of community development.  It was first funded with county bond money. The FWNACC partnered with the Flowing Wells Little League organization and PC NRPR, to write a grant to the Tohono O’Odham Indian Nation and received additional funds for lighting the fields.  Nearly every segment of the community was involved in the development of this park.  The FWNACC was well represented in the process of picking an artist and choosing the public art project.  This park truly represented Flowing Wells, the Can-Do Community.  

The FWNACC was instrumental in the formation of the Flowing Wells Community Justice Board. Those who have been convicted of minor offenses can be adjudicated by the peers of their community. Mandated community service work can be completed within our own neighborhood.  

In 2007, the FWNACC was awarded the coveted All-America City Award received from the National Civic League.  The three projects presented were the Flowing Wells and Curtis Parks, the Ellie Towne Flowing Wells Community Center, and the Flowing Wells Health/Dental Clinic.  In the 58-year history of the award, only four neighborhood associations have ever been awarded this honor.  The judges were awed that this type of progress could be obtained from an all-volunteer organization.  

In June 2007 shortly after the tragic death of 14-year-old Kory Laos while riding his BMX bike along a Tucson roadway a BMX park project was conceived as a memorial to his memory. There was an undeveloped section within Flowing Wells Park which been used by local children since before the park opened as an area to ride their BMX bicycles. Kory Laos used to ride his BMX bike in this area with his friends who would made dirt mounds and ramps with borrowed shovels. The FWNACC became involved when recommendations that Flowing Wells Park was the possible future site.  The project addressed the need for young BMX bike riders to have a designated venue to ride bikes, therefore keeping them off the streets and reducing unauthorized riding activities on public and private commercial properties.    

The Laos Family worked closely with Pima County Natural Resources and Parks and Recreation, the Flowing Wells Neighborhood Association and Community Coalition (FWNACC), and numerous volunteers, organizations, and businesses in building this dirt track facility at Flowing Wells District Park.  His family helped raise funds towards the development of this facility through different fund-raising events. Pima County had no formal funding for this project, but they allocated some annual operating funds to support the project construction.  The Laos Family and friends were able to rally the support of the community to build two dirt tracks at the Flowing Wells District Park with hope for a permanent concrete bowl and support amenities in the future.        

There was only a minimal amount of approved digging on the park site.  There were cultural resources on this site to be protected.  There are also remnants of old irrigation cannels on the site that were protected. There are future plans to have interpretative signs on the site about its past history. The building of the two dirt tracks, one for beginners and the other for intermediate riders, required over 4,000 volunteer hours and 2000 County labor hours along with the import of over 1200 cubic yards of soil to the site.  A future cultural resource study will be done when funds are approved for the concrete bowl and other park amenities that will require more extensive digging.  The park area was dedicated by the Board of Supervisors on July 7, 2009 as the Kory Laos Freestyle Memorial BMX Park at Flowing Wells Park.    

During spring 2008, Amistades, Inc. leadership met with Ellie Towne, President of the FWNACC to establish a partnership with the Flowing Wells community. Ellie Towne informed Amistades leadership of their efforts along with Pima County Sheriff’s Department to clean up all meth labs in the area. Amistades was awarded a ten-year federal drug prevention grant to serve the Flowing Wells Community. Amistades then partnered with the Flowing Wells Neighborhood Association to implement the Amistades Substance Abuse Coalition in the Flowing Wells Revitalization area. Together, Amistades, the Flowing Wells Unified School District, and the FWNACC implemented several school and community based prevention initiatives, including: Underage Drinking Town Halls, Red Ribbon Week, DEA Drug Take Backs, Grad Night, and the Flowing Wells Under the Stars Community Event. Members of the FWNACC actively participated in the Amistades Substance Abuse Coalition and participated in monthly prevention coalition meetings and Annual Coalition Meetings held at the Ellie Towne Flowing Wells Community Center. Staff at Amistades held seats on the board of directors of the FWNACC and provided periodic prevention updates to the members over the ten years of the Coalition. Amistades continues to attend FWNACC meetings and events.  

In the 2015 Pima County bond election there was a bond project approved to build a concrete bowl at Flowing Wells Park for freestyle BMX bikes and skateboarders along with supporting infrastructure, but the bonds did not pass.  In 2018 volunteers organized and renovated the two tracks that were wearing down from all the heavy usage. There is still a great need and a desire from the community for a permanent concrete bowl for the park .   The FWNACC has been involved with various development projects that included public art for our community . Artists have been asked to include the history of the community reflecting the farming especially the cotton and orchards along with the cattle ranching in some art works. We have been instrumental in documenting the history of the area including the location of the Jaynes Station stagecoach stop. A book about the history of the Flowing Wells area from the 1890’s to the 1960’s was published by Arcadia Publishing in 2018 authored by Kevin and Marie Daily and funded by FWNACC. The funds for the profits from selling the books will go towards future scholarships for the Flowing Wells School District students.  

In 2017 FWNACC worked with the Tucson Disc Golf Association and PC NRPR to get neighborhood approval for an 18-hole new disc golf course on the south bank of the Rillito River Park near Ruthrauff and the old Shamrock Diary.  That year FWNACC partnered with the FWSD on an electronic community Marquee on Flowing Wells Road and FW High School funded by CDBG funds.  We also began our partnership with The Watershed Management Group that has received CDBG funding for storm water harvesting projects and provided valuable advice for the Flowing Wells residents and neighborhoods.  

FWNACC has been successful in establishing infrastructure such as drainage improvements, traffic signals, streetlights, water harvesting projects, sidewalks, etc. We had representatives on the Ruthrauff Basin Management Plan drafted by the Pima County Regional Flood Control Department to address the flood issues within that area along with the Santa Cruz River Management Plan. FWNACC has also published two resource guides with information specific for our neighborhood.  

For years we held numerous yard sales to support our efforts. We have received Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) to cover our operating expenses (Office supplies, insurance, etc.,) as well as funds to draft our revitalization plans and updates.  We are truly a grassroots organization with a small budget but big plans.  

The FWNACC initiated the Laguna Elementary School Public Art and funded the project. We have attended the DES poverty workgroup. We have partnered with Pima Community College on the Education for Economic Empowerment project. This program supports single parents who are head of the household. We have been a strong partner with the Northwest Fire District in obtaining funds to secure hydrants and smoke detectors.  

FWNACC was an instrumental partner in establishing the organized events for Laguna and Homer Davis Elementary Schools for the Safe Routes to School Program. These schools have the highest number of walking students primarily because of family transportation issues. The FWNACC was instrumental in the formation of the Homeless Protocol used countywide. We were also a participant in the home auto repair ordinance, as well as a member of the task force dealing with abandoned properties.  

FWNACC has successfully  partnered with the Pima County Sheriff’s Department, DEA, Amistades and other organizations in conducting “Take Back Meds” events at various locations within the Flowing Wells area.  The FWNACC has worked with the Habitat for Humanity organization in taking advantage of their Brush with Kindness project that has provided critical home repairs to homes in the Flowing Wells area and have promoted their secondhand HabiStore. The Habitat for Humanity organization just recently broke ground on their newest neighborhood which is in the Flowing Wells area called Carters Court where they recently raised the walls of their 450th house.  

The FWNACC has also worked with the Living Streets Alliance (LSA) whose mission is to promote healthy communities by empowering people to transform our streets into vibrant places for walking, biking, socializing, and play has been active in the Flowing Wells area. LSA through their Pedestrian Safety & Comfort Campaign and their Neighborhood Walkability Assessments has engaged residents about neighborhood priorities regarding possible future improvements to the walking environment.    

The Watershed Management Group (WMG) and its team of volunteers have been working to reduce flooding in the Flowing Wells area thanks to funding by Pima County. WMG and its volunteers are creating places for the stormwater to go when it rains.  The design will convert the barren and hot public right-of-way into a series of rain gardens. They have worked with the FWNACC in designing and installing rainwater harvesting basins planted with native plants along Shannon Road. These basins will direct the stormwater to the rain gardens instead of flowing into the street, and they will benefit the environment and community in many ways.  WMG has also been working with the Flowing Wells area in providing free rainwater harvesting home visits for neighbors to have their yards evaluated by a WMG designer.  

FWNACC continues to have representation on Miracle Mile Superfund Committee for the TCE and Chromium plume in the groundwater near Miracle Mile and Romero area. A.D.E.Q.’s administers the program.   FWNACC continues to work closely with Pima County on their Pima Prospers program, Infill Districts, Infill Programs, and other opportunities to support our FW Revitalization Plans. We welcomed new businesses into our revitalization area – Hughes Federal Credit Union, Sporting Chance and Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market and Pharmacy.  

The FWNACC is in strong partnership with the local school district, 18 local governmental departments, businesses and 7 social service and faith-based entities. These partnerships have primarily allowed the FWNACC to procure over $69 million to complete community-identified projects.  

The Flowing Wells community has just hit the tipping point of synergy. We have worked hard for over 25 years to make a real difference in the quality of life of our residents. We are just now seeing the fruits of our labor. We recently completed our  Flowing Wells Neighborhood Revitalization Area Plan update. We invite you to attend our monthly meetings. 


Flowing Wells Neighborhood Revitalization Strategy...

The Flowing Wells Neighborhood Revitalization Strategy Area 2020 Draft Update is available for download under our documents page for review and comments more
Started: August 28th 2020Replies: 0

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