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ASUA meeting to address potential move of cactus garden

By Kaila Wyman
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Wednesday Jan. 16, 2002

Senate invites student input regarding the fate of the garden

Students with opinions about the possible move of the Joseph Wood Krutch cactus garden will be allowed to address the ASUA Senate at its meeting tonight.

The senate will not vote on the issue at tonight's meeting - which takes place in Room 234 of the Harvill building at 6 - but could make a recommendation in the future on whether the cactus garden should be moved, said Associated Students of the University of Arizona President Ray Quintero.

The meeting will instead serve as an open forum for students with opinions about whether the garden should stay or be moved to accommodate the proposed Alumni Plaza.

The University of Arizona Alumni Association sparked controversy recently when it presented four proposals for a new Alumni Heritage Plaza, including three that would involve moving the cactus garden.

The garden, which is located in front of the Administration building, is the last remnant of what was once a desert landscape that stretched across the entire Mall. The garden also contains three boojum trees, which are not native to the area and will die, some say, if moved.

Supporters of the garden have collected 1,650 signatures since Friday from those in favor of preserving the cactus garden.

Debbie Collazo, who worked on the UA campus for seven years, said she has a "love affair" with the cactus garden, is supporting students who are fighting for the safety of the cactus garden and plans on attending the meeting.

"The cactus garden is the only reminder that the University of Arizona grew out of the Sonoran Desert," she said. "I think the university would be wise to embrace it, not just tolerate it."

ASUA and the Alumni Association are encouraging students to attend the meeting and voice their concerns about the problem.

"They have a chance for their voices to be heard," said ASUA senator Doug Hartz. "I'd hate for any decisions to be made without all the information presented."

The Alumni Association is meeting today with Hargreaves Associates, the company that is designing the Alumni Plaza, to look at one or more new designs.

One will be an upgrade of the only design presented last year that incorporated the cactus garden into the Alumni Plaza.

The Alumni Association will present that plan at tomorrow night's ASUA meeting.

The Alumni Association hired a horticulturist from Phoenix last week to examine the garden and the risk of moving the boojum tree. His analysis will not be completed until tomorrow, said Jay Rochlin, associate director of the Alumni Office.

Rochlin said at Monday's Faculty Senate meeting that, so far, experts have disagreed on the risks involved in moving the garden.

"There isn't one single member looking at the project that would advocate harming the tree or any other specimens in the garden," said Rochlin. "We are looking to save at least all of the rare species."

Hartz and Rochlin both stressed the need to hear all sides of the issue before any decisions are made about the construction of the plaza.


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