This is a place for discussions of historic preservation in Armory Park, and what benefits and challenges it presents. Local history is another subject addressed here and in web pages. I will publish articles here when it seems helpful; readers are invited to comment. To support the mission of this site, acceptable comments are those that contribute to reasonable historic preservation, better understanding of our history and serve the interests of Armory Park residents. Others may be invited to post here also. Please let me know if you want to do so.

Monday, September 6, 2021

Controversial Use of Public Spaces

We may think debates about the use of public spaces is only a current concern (think Children's Museum). History tells us that this has been a long term concern that surfaces from time to time. The Arizona Daily Star of January 7, 1926 (ten pages, 5 cents a copy) contained the following: 

Contention that the proposed creation of a recreation park out of Armory park will result in irreparable damage to the park by the destruction of large trees and palms and the erection of unsightly structures in the park is set forth In a suit filed at 2 o'clock yesterday afternoon against the city of Tucson and Mayor John IL White by Francis M. Hartman and Mae B. Hartman in which they seek an order from the superior court restraining the city from carrying out the proposed plan. 

The complaint sets forth that the city of Tucson set aside the land for park purposes in 1899 and dedicated it as a public park on February 26, 1903. and that it has been maintained as a public park since that time. The plaintiffs declare that the city subdivided the area surrounding the park and when the lots were sold It was with the agreement that the land in question be maintained as a public park and that the purchasers* agreement gives them irrevocable rights in the park which will be violated by the installation of recreational devices. 

It also is contended in the complaint that the construction of tennis courts, horseshoe courts and other recreational devices will constitute a nuisance and ruin the plot for park purposes and that the city and common council have no right under the law to make the proposed changes in the improvements of the park. 

The complainants also declare that the maintenance of the park is necessary to the welfare of the residents of Tucson and that it was expressly agreed by the city at the time of the purchase of the property which they now own adjoining the park, that the plot in question would be forever maintained us a public park and that the proposed changes are a violation of that agreement. 

The case is the outgrowth of an appropriation of $5000 by the city council several weeks ago for the improvement of Armory park by the installation of recreation devices to be used by old and young residents of the city. The proposal to improve the park was sponsored by a number of leading citizens at the time it was brought before the council and passed without a dissenting vote. 

Plans for carrying out the proposed change in the park were worked out by the street committee and referred to the council in a later meeting and adopted without a single change. The plans provide for tennis courts, a bowling green, roque [a form of croquet played on a hard surface] courts and horseshoe courts and the city engineer is now under orders to proceed with the work of installation.

At the last meeting of the old council, a petition was presented with Hartman's name at the head of the list, asking that the council reconsider and rescind Its action. This communication was read and filed by the council and a resolution passed ordering employees of the city to proceed with their work of constructing the proposed recreational courts.

The case Is set for hearing on January 9.

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