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Steve Kozachik to resign from Tucson City Council, oversee Mosaic Quarter sports complex

Tucson City Councilman Steve Kozachik is known to be running for office. When he's not pedaling his bike, his sneakers zip around city sidewalks.

However, he will not run for re-election next year. He resigned early to become manager of Mosaic Quarter, a large sports complex planned for Pima County's South Side, which county officials say will boost local economic activity. It says it has the potential to generate billions of dollars.

“This is going to be an amazing development for this area…it could be transformative from an economic development standpoint,” he told the Tucson Sentinel.

Kozachik, who represents Midtown's 6th Ward, will resign from the Legislature on March 31 to begin working on public-private partnerships in Pima County.

“The county has provided me with the opportunity to assist in the annual update and implementation of the Integrated Infrastructure Plan and to be the point of contact in the management of that project. “It will attract attention,” he said. stated in writing.

“This is a big deal,” he told the Sentinel Monday morning. “I wouldn't want to be the manager of Circle K.”

He was first elected as a Republican in 2009, but switched to the Democratic Party in the next election in 2013, mainly focusing on the gun purchase issue.

Other than some pursuit in the primary, he has faced little opposition in his re-election bid. Mr. Kozachik refused to accept political donations in his most recent campaigns and spray-painted several of his own campaign signs, but each time he briefly returned to power.

The new position, which pays $106,000 annually, means Pima County will be Kozachik's third local government agency.

He was the longtime associate director of sports facilities at the University of Arizona, but was ousted from his position in November 2020 as criticism of university administrators' handling of the coronavirus pandemic became more prominent. Kozachik started working with UA Athletics in 1988.

Mr. Kozachik, 70, is one of the council's longest-serving members. Ward 5 City Councilman Richard Fimbres, who represents the South Side, was also first elected in 2009. Mayor Regina Romero was first elected in 2007, when she was elected to represent the Westside Ward 1.

Despite Kozachik's regular outbursts to the Sentinel on topics such as the local transportation authority, zoning issues, and immigrant shelter challenges, Pima County Executive Jean Lesher is not sure how things will go in her new job. He said he did not warn them to ease the situation.

He would be too busy for that, he said.

“I am fully committed to this Mosaic Quarter project,” he said. “There's nothing particularly public about my job. We're building this from the ground up. I don't have time for a side hustle and I can't keep stirring shit up.”

“I did something like this while working for the UA athletics department,” he said in an email newsletter Monday. “We expanded the football stadium, added a Jumbotron, renovated all of McKale's lockers and concession stands, built the Kasser Aquatics Facility, Roby Gymnastics Building, Hillenbrand Softball Stadium, and Jefferson Gymnasium. Knott MQ Every project is all that and more.”

Mosaic District: County officials predict billions in economic activity

Last week, the Pima County Board of Supervisors approved the first lease for Mosaic Quarter, a sports and entertainment complex that includes the 175,000 square foot MQ Iceplex and 131,000 square foot MQ Fieldhouse.

“They have all the permits in place and are planning to break ground in about a month,” Kozachik said. “Knott has connections with youth sports organizations across the country and is already booking events.”

Construction of the Iceplex is expected to be completed by December 2025, and the field house is expected to be completed by May 2026.

The Iceplex is used as the home base for the University of Arizona hockey team, the IceCats, who currently play at the Tucson Convention Center.

The field house will be home to UA's new women's club hockey team.

The county purchased the land south of Interstate 10 in 2014. In 2020, the county opened Keno Sports Complex South, which includes a soccer field and pickleball courts. The county solicited proposals for construction on the remainder of the site that same year.

In addition to two buildings dedicated to sports, the Mosaic complex will also include a natural gas-fired central utility plant and a canopy array of solar-powered parking.

In a memo to supervisors, Lesher said the project will have three phases and will ultimately include three hotels, 14 restaurants, as well as “public gathering spaces and outdoor entertainment facilities” in the development. He said it would be included.

Pima County officials said the nonprofit Mosaic Foundation, which partners with local groups and organizations, will be a “key component” of the project.

Pima County officials say Phase 1 of the Mosaic Quarter could generate $8.3 billion in new local spending and $917.7 million in tax revenue for the state of Arizona, the city of Tucson and the local transportation authority. said.

Kozachik said the breadth of the plan represents an opportunity to “correct the mistake of putting Keno baseball field there” decades ago.

“There's going to be some synergy,” he said, raising the possibility that baseball spring training will return to a weekend series in Tucson.

Appointments to fill council seats

Under the City Charter, Kozik's seat will be filled by an appointee chosen by the Mayor and City Council for the remainder of his term, which runs until early December 2025. Next year's regular election will determine who will serve in office for the next full term.

Several potential appointees had already expressed interest Monday.

Nina Trusoff, who held the 6th District seat for one term before losing to Kozachik in 2009, said she would serve if asked.

Trusoff said he is only interested in serving in the position on an interim basis and has no intention of seeking re-election in 2025.

“Of course!” Miranda Schubert, who won 27 percent in a three-way primary with Kozachik in 2021 (57 percent for the incumbent, 15 percent for Andres Portela), told the Sentinel. She will apply for her appointment.

Shaq McCoy, who works as a voter services and policy advisor for Pima County Supervisor Matt Heinz, also expressed interest in the appointment.

“I'm researching it,” McCoy said.

Councilman Kevin Dahl said the news came as a surprise and called Kozachik's retirement from the city a loss.

“We are losing talent and experience,” the 3rd District representative said. “I don't know anyone who works as hard as me, and I'm grateful to him as my colleague on the City Council.”

“And the good thing for him is that it's the right job for him and he's going to do well,” Dahl said. “Lucky for Pima County. This is really a win, win, loss. It's a win for Pima County, a win for Steve, but a loss for us.”

Dahl said the city needs to move forward with selecting a replacement.

“We hope that the new pay will allow people who previously couldn't get that job to get that job. It's much more fair and it's really good for Tucson, and this time “We expect there will be many more qualified candidates,” he said.

Kozachik told the Sentinel that he is proud of the accomplishments he and his staff have accomplished over the past 14 years, including the preservation of a “Benedictine” monastery during an apartment redevelopment project, Tucson Greyhound Park and Sunshine.・He cited the end of horse racing in the mile. He extended it to Broadway and said, “Bringing an Afghan (refugee) family out of Turkey and reuniting them here is close to my heart.”

“There are challenges in this region,” he says. “Hundreds of migrants will soon be released on the streets. It will not be easy.”

His replacement “better hurry up and study,” he said. “They can't come in with a personal agenda. They need a broader focus.”

Why do people continue to work even at the age of 70?

“I ran 15 miles this morning and I’m still awake and active,” he said.

“I don't want to get all mushy or overstated, but this is the greatest project this area has ever seen,” he said.

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