Thursday, December 1, 2011

Tucson Means Business Forum A Success

Tucson Means Business Forum

More than 80 people were in attendance for the Ward 5 Tucson Means Business Forum, held November 30, at the Fred G. Acosta Job Corps Center.

This forum provided opportunities to current business owners who want to do business with the City of Tucson and those aspiring owners who want to start their business in the Old Pueblo.

City of Tucson Department Directors and partners made presentations, and answered questions on: Small Business Enterprise benefits and certification; Becoming a vendor in the City of Tucson Procurement System; Green business certification and benefits; Business licensing and fees; Permitting, sign codes and the new, streamlined, Certificate of Occupancy process.

The Pima County Health Department, Pima County One Stop, the Microbusiness Advancement Center (MAC), the Small Business Administration, as well as the Business Development Finance Corporation , the Community Reinvestment Fund and Project PPEP, were present to answer any questions and provide information.

As from previous meetings, a Ward 5 update on projects and developments and changes to other city business policies was given at this forum.

A big thank you goes to Carld Rosborough, Steve Ramirez and the staff of Fred G. Acosta Job Corps for being such gracious hosts for this forum as well as providing refreshments for everyone last night.

I also want to thank:

Our City Manager, Richard Miranda, for being there for the forum and for helping to get our city through these tough, economic times.

All the city staff present:

Ernie Duarte – Planning and Development Services (PDSD),

Ellen Hitchings – Business Licensing and Finance

Liana Perez – Equal Employment Opportunity Programs

Mark Neihart – Procurement

Byron Howard – City Manager’s Office

Leslie Ethen – Conservation & Sustainable Development

Jennifer Hackman – City Manager’s Office, who coordinated this event tonight.

My staff: Eileen Contreras, John Ferra, Melinda Jacobs and Mark Kerr, for their work on this forum, as well as getting the other refreshments from our sponsor.

Jim Mize with Pima County One Stop,

Lonnie Anderson with the Pima County Health Department,

Jerone Davis with Microbusiness Advancement Center, Gabriel Gomez with

Stephan Hart with the Small Business Administration

Frank Ballesteros with the Community Reinvestment Fund,

And Miguel Zazueta for their participation in this forum.

In addition, my appreciation goes to Chick-Fil-A, Costco and the Fred G. Acosta Job Corps for providing the refreshments.

Here are my remarks delivered at the forum last night:

When I ran for office in 2009, I told the good citizens of Tucson that I would keep them informed of what was happening in Ward 5 and with in our City.

Tonight is another for business town hall meeting to discuss what has been accomplished for the business community in Ward 5 and the City of Tucson.

In 2009, when I began my term, as your Councilmember for Ward 5, I had a dream and a vision of making our City an even better place, to live, raise a family and most importantly, work and do business.

Some said that this dream was like looking at a dirt lot, for which I did, located at Kino and 36th Street.

Others have said that this vision and dream was just like an empty building that are in Ward 5 and in the rest of the city.

That dirt lot at I-10, Park, Kino and 36th is now the Tucson Marketplace at the Bridges, home of the Costco.

The Costco was built in 110 days, by Borderland Construction, who put more than 100 local people to work.

The store opened on April 14, doing $748,000 in sales, surpassing opening day averages and Costco had 700 people sign up for new memberships that day!

Sales and memberships continue to set records according to Costco Management.

In early 2012, the Wal-Mart Supercenter, will be breaking ground, building a 156,000 square foot super center which will employ 400 people. According to the developers, the project is on schedule to open around October of 2012.

In addition on that dirt lot is the U of A BioPark, which will begin its second phase with construction next year as well.

The Biopark will have a biotech park, retail, a hotel, as well as a biosciences high school to help develop our workforce for this growing industry.

The Park Avenue road construction is proceeding on schedule, with the roadway to be open around Mid-March of 2012.

More than 70 empty buildings have opened up across the city, thanks to one of the first accomplishments I was proud to bring to the Mayor and Council and get a unanimous vote, streamlining the process for obtaining a Certificate of Occupancy.

Ward 5 has seen the construction, progress and opening of new stores, such as:

Two Goodwill Stores, which moved into old buildings through using the new Certificate of Occupancy process, putting an additional 50 to 60 people to work.

Perfection Industrial Finishings new location, resulting in more than 30 new jobs.

Two Quik Trips opening, resulting in 30 jobs.

The expanding of Caid Industries, resulting in more than two dozen new jobs.

A Dollar General Store on 22nd Street – more than a half dozen jobs.

Construction of a Family Dollar Store on 36th Street and the opening of Family Dollar at Broadway and Plumer – employing more than a dozen people.


Ashton Construction Company, located in Ward 5, building the Luis Gutierrez Bridge, resulting in 97 new jobs and 33,000 hours of work.

The beginning of the construction at Rarick in Millville, which when finished will triple the number of employees to 74.

Don Pedro’s Peruvian Bistro - More than a dozen jobs.

Caremore Healthcare - More than two dozen jobs.

Circle K at Ajo/Park - Ten jobs.

Baja Market - Eight jobs.

Cora’s CafĂ© – Eight jobs.

Axis Market – Eight jobs.

Since the last business forum, many city policies and regulations have been streamlined, such as:

Waivers for Solar Technology,

Reduction in the Parking Requirements,

Revisions in the Land Use Code,

Reductions in the non-refundable, real estate application fees, and most recently,

The extension of the infill incentive districts, development time frames and the Certificate of Occupancy policy changes.

With these changes, to name a few, in effect since August 2010, more than $435 million in commercial development and construction permits have been taken out.

This has resulted in more sales tax revenue generated and most importantly, the creation of new jobs.

This Mayor and Council has moved the agenda to get Tucson back to work. With the Modern Street Car construction coming into play there will be more jobs available. I want to thank our City Manager and our City Staff for there great work in these areas