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Alumni vote to oppose moving cactus garden

KEVIN KLAUS/Arizona Daily Wildcat

As of last week, these saguaro cactuses, along with the other rare plants in the Joseph Wood Krutch cactus garden, stand a strong chance of remaining in their current location. The Alumni Association voted unanimously to recommend incorporating the cactus garden into the proposed Alumni Heritage Plaza.

By Kaila Wyman
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tuesday Feb. 5, 2002

Planning committee will make final decision on garden's future Friday

The Arizona Alumni Association voted unanimously last week to recommend including the Joseph Wood Krutch cactus garden in plans for the proposed Alumni Heritage Plaza.

They will still present two plans for the plaza - one that includes the garden and one that involves relocating it to Old Main - later this week to a committee that will make the final decision.

But Jay Rochlin, associate director of the Alumni Association, said the Planning and Design Review Advisory Committee is almost certain to accept the one with the garden.

"There is no way the one without the cactus garden will be accepted," Rochlin said.

PADRAC will meet Friday to hear both proposals.

Rochlin said input from students and community members - which overwhelmingly favored keeping the garden - played a role in the Alumni Association's decision to support the proposal.

Nearly 30 people protested last month in favor of keeping the garden in front of the Administration building, and students and community members have flooded UA President Peter Likins' e-mail box pleading for him to support keeping the garden in its current location.

Map Courtesy of Arizona Alumni Association/Illustration by Josh Hagler

The proposed Alumni Plaza keeps the cactus garden while adding new plant life and paths across the Mall.

But Likins said at a Faculty Senate meeting yesterday that the decision to save the cactus garden was made in December, and the protesters were dealt with though the university had already realized moving the cactus garden would be an "error."

He said he had to convince the Alumni Association not to back out of the plan when they faced opposition from protesters.

"(The alumni) are people who love the university," he said. "And they are being abused."

"They are being viewed as predators," he added.

"(The alumni) are epeople who love the university and they are being abused. They are being viewed as predators."
- Peter Likins, UA Presidnet

He said he supports the plan to incorporate the garden into the plaza because he said erosion is occurring that threatens the plants.

No plans have been completely worked out with all the details for the garden. The Alumni Association and UA's Arboretum formed a Technical Working Group to work out all aspects of the Krutch cactus garden modifications.

The group includes Campus and Facilities Planning chair David Duffy as well as representatives from Facilities Management; the Arboretum Committee; Hargreaves Associates, the firm designing the Alumni Plaza; the School of Landscape Architecture; a student and a community member.

"Those people will do a full and accurate talk about the design and the health of the plants," director Libby Davison said.

The group has been charged with providing design direction to Hargreaves Associates, making recommendations, establishing design parameters and making the cactus garden as attractive as possible.

"I think that that's really responsible on their end as well as responsive to student's opinions," Associated Students of the University of Arizona President Ray Quintero said. "And it should reiterate to the students that the alumni are here for them."

Daniel Scarpinato contributed to this report.


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