by Annie Holub
An article in Sunday's Arizona Daily Star asserts that the downtown warehouse occupied by Steven Eye and Solar Culture gallery is unsafe for the public. Says the Star:
It was written up by several inspectors for sagging floors that don't have adequate support for the load they bear, and for an exterior wall deteriorated and cracked from long-term water damage that may have reduced its stability. An Army Corps of Engineers inspector called the building "dangerous" in 1999.
A back door to the building, which sees some of the highest public use of any in the district, opens to an active railroad track.
A 2002 city fire inspection said the problems noted in 1999 were getting worse and called for immediate floor repairs. There is no record of any building permits for repairs.
In 2004 primary leaseholder Steven Eye told state fire marshals repairs had been made, but the inspector noted he was unable to provide documentation.
Eye has done an immense amount of work on it, and although there may not be proper documentation, Eye wants the community to know that the buildling is safe. In an e-mail, he wrote:
From the very first day I got (here), I fell in love with this building, and have done my best to fix every part that I could. I have never stopped working on this building making it stronger, and stronger. I truly believe with all my heart that this building is safe for the public.
Today, he sent out an email to the Solar Culture listserv asking for support from the music community to help pay for more repairs to the building so that it will meet the inspectors' recommendations. The e-mail further states:
Until we can prove to the city that Solar Culture is up to their standards of what they consider "safe" we CANNOT have larger shows here. I don't know how long that will take. We will try to move our larger shows to other venues. Stay tuned in to our website.
If you remember what Tucson was like during those sad, lonely years between the fall of the Downtown Performance Center and the rise of Solar Culture, then you understand how important this venue has been to our community, back door to the train tracks and all.