DIG DEEPER: Progress is being made in a park with a troubled past | News

TUCSON (KVOA) — Big improvements are underway at a Tucson park with a troubled history.

Anza Park at Speedway and Stone is over 100 years old. In recent decades it had become a haven for drug dealers and a hotspot for homeless people. Now the neighbors are hopeful, all of that is a thing of the past.

“Oh, that was wonderful,” exclaimed Janet Labate, who has lived near Anza Park for decades.

In recent years, she’s seen Tucson police work with the West University Neighborhood Association to recapture the park from criminals, including one who police say made $1,000 a day selling narcotics.

“Having this park available to area residents brings a different quality of life,” said Tucson Police Lt. Belinda Morales.

Getting rid of the drug dealers was just the start. Last year, the city opened a new off-leash dog park in Anza. It was a $180,000 Proposition 407 funded project.

“If you look around you don’t really see a lot of problems anymore,” said Tom Fisher, project manager at Tucson Parks and Recreation.

The city also recently began construction of new toilets, to replace broken down ones that were installed in the 1950s.

“They worked for about 50 years, then we shut them down in the early 2000s. The plumbing was just outdated. The toilets were misused and vandalized, so we locked everything down,” Fisher told the Digging team. Deeper.

Fisher also said moving the new restrooms to another location in the park should help deter violators.

“What we’ve decided to do is move the restrooms to this corner of the park where they’re more visible to Tucson police as they go over the stone here, as well as our parks workers, because it’s just around the corner.” said Fisher.

If all goes according to plan, the new toilets should be finished by early summer.

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