Pathway to Discovery | Tech Parks Arizona

Pathway to Discovery

The UA Tech Park at The Bridges (Park) is being designed to create “Interactive Ground,” a place that connects University, Community and Industry in the pursuit of technological innovation and commercialization. One of the goals of the Park is to create outdoor places and indoor spaces where people of all ages and backgrounds can learn about and interact with science and technology.

A major feature of the Park is the Pathway to Discovery, a set of paths that run along the perimeter of The Bridges and through its interior. These paths connect to the larger systems of pathways in the area, including the Julian Wash Greenway and the Urban Loop. 

The inspiration for the Pathway to Discovery has been drawn from other science parks such as the Clore Science Park at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel and Millennium Park in Chicago. The concept of the Pathway is to create a destination where people, especially young people, can connect to the exciting world of science, engineering, and technology. 

The first segment of the Pathway has already been constructed along Kino Parkway from 36th Street to Tucson Marketplace Drive. It features the mural artwork of the students of the Las Artes Arts and Education Center and Program, an alternative high school located in South Tucson.

The second segment of the Pathway will run along the interior spine road of the Tech Park and will feature three interactive nodes. These nodes will be dynamic outdoor plazas with interactive exhibits that examine the science of earth, space, and life. 

The third segment of the Pathway is the Heritage Path. This segment will run along Nobel Way between 36th Street and Tucson Marketplace Drive, terminating at The Landing. The Heritage Path will feature eight outdoor interpretive stations depicting the cultural history and heritage of Tucson. At the southern end of the path will be The Landing, which will depict the purpose and theme of The Bridges:“a link to the past, present, and future of Southern Arizona.”

The Heritage Path Project

In 2014, the Tech Parks Arizona was approached by leaders of the Tucson Chapter of the NAACP with the idea of renaming Nobel Way to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  This idea quickly evolved into a broader concept of celebrating the cultural diversity and heritage of Tucson and Pima County by exploring the history of the region through the contributions of its major cultural and ethnic groups. 

A planning committee was established to explore the idea.  The Planning Committee  includes representatives  from the City of Tucson, Pima County, NAACP and the University of Arizona.  Assisting in the planning efforts have been designers and architects from the The Planning Center and Swaim & Associates. The group worked through the summer of 2015 to develop a concept of the Heritage Path, including the renaming of Nobel Way. 

The Heritage Path acknowledges the struggles and accomplishments of the cultures that built and settled in Tucson. A series of interactive nodes will be built along the Heritage Path. As part of the project, Nobel Way was renamed DR M L KING JR Way in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The Planning Committee is reaching out to community organizations and leaders to assist in further development of the concept and content of the Heritage Path. In addition, the Committee is launching a fundraising effort to fund the cost of designing and installing the interpretive nodes.

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