Postcards connect people to their past, present and future via the mailbox.
That's the concept behind the "Postcards From the Old Pueblo" theme on a portion of the Pantano River Park that Lowe's developed and opened in 2006 near its store at East Speedway and North Kolb Road.
"Postcards go through the mailbox and out to the community," architect Victor Bolduc said.
The architect took that quite literally and helped create a 22-foot-long, 14-foot-tall mailbox structure that graces the Pantano River Park on the east side of the store.
"It was designed tall so people wouldn't hang off of it and get hurt … but kids have found a way to shinny up there and hang from it."
Bolduc said he and fellow architects with Sayler-Brown Bolduc Lara Architects of Tucson teamed up with Tucson tile artist Jennifer Furrier to have local schoolchildren create artwork on tiles that resemble postcards.
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The theme of postcard tiles was implemented throughout the park - on benches, walls and in the flooring pattern.
Bolduc said the idea of having the neighborhood kids' creative input gave them "authorship with the linear park so they could take pride in ownership, which would in turn protect the park from graffiti and drugs."
"The kids got really excited about it," he said.
The park was developed and paid for by Lowe's as part of its development agreement with Pima County.
Because of space limitations, the segment had to be built using a cantilevered deck walkway, which actually goes over the wash.
"I see it very active during monsoon rain," Bolduc said. "I find myself going back to see the Pantano Wash when it is flowing."
The $1.4 million river park is more than a cool idea.
In addition to the mailbox structure, it features a small playground for children and trees. The walkway is "geared toward strollers and being able to watch the kids play."
The park was also built to be "transparent" so police can drive by on their shifts and see what's going on there.
"River parks are not usually sophisticated. This one is," said Steve Anderson, parks and recreation planner for Pima County Natural Resources, Parks and Recreation.
"Lowe's are great corporate citizens for doing that. They really did a good job."
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