One thing that I have noticed about Tucson is the number of active neighborhood associations. They are numerous and vocal. And I love it!
I was invited to sit in on a meeting last night with the West University association. This neighborhood is directly west of the University of Arizona (hence the name). Because of it's location, it is a natural place for developers and the university itself to look at for infill projects for student housing. One group is looking at doing a project that would have upwards of 750 beds - one building being 14 stories.
(The University is 'land locked' - surrounded by the city and are desperately looking for housing solutions.)
While the turn out was low in number, the discussion was lively and energetic. They are in the beginning phases of this project and I'm sure I'll be going to more.
Why am I going? I'm not going with my REALTOR® badge on my shirt and I'm not passing out cards to everyone. Yes, the know what I do for a living but the real reason for me to go is to learn. I want to know what is going on in as many neighborhoods as I can. Neighborhood association meetings are the perfect way to do it. In a city the size of Tucson, the local news isn't going to cover something like these meetings.
The information I got from the meeting is going to benefit my future clients who might be looking in that neighborhood for a home. "Here's what might be happening down the road a couple of years. Here's who to contact for more details."
If you want to be a true neighborhood specialist, make a point to find out when these meetings are and GO to them. Find out what the hot button topics are, what projects are underway or in the planning stages, what the residents are like and more. (Last night's group was a great bunch who are very passionate about their neighborhood's future.)
And, no, you don't have to be a resident to attend these meetings - unless they state in advance that they are having a closed meeting.
For buyers - if you are looking at specific neighborhoods where you'd like to live, these meetings are wonderful for you to attend as well.