So, I managed to cycle to all FIVE ribbon-cutting ceremonies this morning. The trek began @ the Mercado District, on land where people have inhabited for more than 4000 years. Approximately 150 people were there. Speakers included Mayor Rothschild, Regina Romero and Kira Dixon Weinstein, developer/owner of Mercado San Agustin.
From there, I booked it to the University Medical Center, the end of the streetcar line. UA President Ann Hart praised and welcomed the streetcar and spoke of the collaboration that includes UA. The University has committed to paying 50% of Sun Go card costs to University students to encourage them to ride. I saw many of them on board today.
The UA Pep Band greeted us @ Main Gate Square with musical excitement, where folks from the Marshall Foundation spoke. Louise Marshall, in 1901, saw a future in this place and bought three shares of railway stock. The first building went up in 1922.
On Fourth Avenue, we were hosted by the owners of United Fire and Delectables, currently the President and VP of Fourth Avenue Merchants.
The main event took place downtown at Congress and Fifth Avenue. A color guard and former American Idol singer Crystal Stark sang the national anthem. Dignitaries included folks from the federal government, City Council, Pima County, and state senators and representatives. Speakers included outgoing City Manager and former Police Chief Richard Miranda, UA President Ann Hart, Norvill Carter, from federal DOT, State Senator Steve Farley, former auto retailer and current city cheerleader Steve Christie and former mayor Bob Walkup. Christie shared the most informed and impassioned words and would make a fine elected official. He truly gets it!
Walkup reminded us that the cars are MADE IN THE USA, putting many people to work in the midst of the countries greatest recession.
I’m grateful for the Sun Link Ambassador who, in the heat and humidity, was passing out cold water with a big smile to Tucsonans who came to celebrate. And blessings to Danielle Lerner, KVOA morning co-anchor, who was in the midst of the festivities in the sweltering sun at 5 AM (I saw her on TV before I left on my bike) until the event closed moments after 10. She was still smiling and looked untouched by the heat. A real trooper. Thank you, Danielle!
So many folks have ventured to take a free ride that all eight cars were out today. Even buses got in on the action to handle the overflow. Free rides continue all weekend long. And don’t forget that festivities abound in each region through Sunday. Stop by the Friends booth on Congress and let them know where you want the train to go next. Get a free SunGO card. Go to the Living Streets Alliance booth for more fun.