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  • Chuck Huckelberry - 48 years of Public Service

    Chuck Huckelberry

    Huckelberry may be leaving Pima County but his accomplishments will never be forgotten 

    After a career in public service that spanned nearly 50 years, Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry has announced he’s resigning his position as County Administrator.

    Huckelberry submitted his resignation to the Pima County Board of Supervisors April 1. His final day with Pima County will be April 5.

    Huckelberry was seriously injured in a bicycling accident downtown Oct. 23, 2021, when a car involved in a collision spun off the roadway and struck him. He spent months in the hospital before returning home where he has been working on his recovery with help from therapists, medical providers, and his family.  

    When the accident occurred on an autumn Saturday morning, Huckelberry, an avid cyclist, had just finished having coffee with his bicycling buddies. As he left that morning, he and his friends were heading for The Loop, which is also named for him. The multi-use trail system built mostly along the banks of the four major streams that cut through metropolitan Tucson was also his idea and he rode his bike on the Loop nearly every weekend. He ensured successive county budgets always had the necessary funding to keep expanding the Loop over the forty years it's been under construction. 

    It is a bitter irony that the accident that has forced the culmination of his career with Pima County occurred while he was on his way to use an amenity he built and loved. 

    Through nearly three decades as County Administrator, Huckelberry has navigated County government through times of tremendous growth, changing demographics, economic turmoil, and at times, political strife. Throughout this journey toward a better community for everyone in Pima County, Huckelberry worked to bring along diverse community interests of economic advancement, conservation, conscientious development, and community service. Not all those travels were smooth trips, but Huckelberry was always at his best when trying to find the common ground for all to walk on. 

    “He could have been the CEO of a Fortune 500 company, but he chose a lifetime of public service instead. And for that, we all owe him a debt of gratitude,” said Sharon Bronson, chair of the Board of Supervisors.

    The signs of Huckelberry’s journey through public service are posted throughout the community. It’s quite impossible, in fact, to look around the Pima County community and not see the work Huckelberry was a part of. From environmental protections, to infrastructure improvements, to criminal justice reforms, to park expansions, to health system enhancements, Huckelberry has been the steady hand at the wheel throughout. 

    Some of the major accomplishments of Huckelberry’s tenure include: 
    • The Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan
    • The Bond Program 
    • The Loop, which is now named after him
    • Flood control improvements
    • Infrastructure funding transformation
    • Kino Sports Complex
    • Expansion of health services
    The imprint Huckelberry left on Pima County will last for decades and his name will long be remembered as one of excellence and service.  Thanks, Chuck. For everything. 

    A kid from the Wells

    Huckelberry is a product of Southern Arizona and has been very much a part of its growth and development. As former County Supervisor Greg Lunn noted in a 1993 Arizona Daily Star story: “I think he was born in the County building.”

    Although not actually born in a County building, he has spent much of his life in one. But before that, Huckelberry was born in Tucson and raised in the Flowing Wells area, where his roots run deep. It wasn’t until the early 2000s when he finally moved from the modest family home where he grew up.  

    Despite his typically staid, academic demeanor, Huckelberry was once an athletic prodigy and star football player for Flowing Wells High School. But the boy from Flowing Wells resigned dreams of gridiron glory in pursuit of a different passion: Public service. 

    After earning a civil engineering degree from the University of Arizona, Huckelberry, then just 24 years old, took a job with the County Highway Department, as the Department of Transportation was then known. By age 29, he was appointed head of the department. In 1987, Huckelberry had moved up the chain of command to Assistant County Administrator in charge of Public Works.

    Over 19 years, from 1974 to 1993, Huckelberry was at the fore of nearly every major construction project in the County. But a change was about to come. 

    The political winds of change

    A political whirlwind swept through the Board of Supervisors following the 1992 election. A new Board majority sought to make a series of changes, starting with installing new management. 

    A new County administrator was appointed who quickly set about the task of reorganizing. On the agenda was a reassignment for Huckelberry. But it wouldn’t last long. After just a few months, he left for a private sector engineering firm and later as the director of Metro Water. 

    For much of 1993, County government descended into chaos. In addition to the political turmoil, the newly installed County administration faced growing allegations of retaliation and discrimination against employees. By December, 1993, the board had had enough. Huckelberry was asked to return as interim administrator and in short order was given the job permanently in January 1994. 

    Rather than dwell on the tumult of previous years or seek recriminations, Huckelberry jumped back into the business of the County with the heart of an optimist. 

    When asked in a Tucson Citizen interview in 1994 about the late unpleasantness that had overtaken County government, the administrator replied: “… I think that ‘turmoil’ is probably more exaggerated than it really is. There were a lot of County employees, in fact most of them, who continued to do their job and do it well…” 

    Immediately, Huckelberry went to work, attacking the major projects required to bring Pima County into the modern era and prepare for future needs.  

    Preserving what makes Pima unique

    Perhaps the towering accomplishment during Huckelberry’s tenure was the implementation of the Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan (SDCP) and its accompanying federal permits that provided important environmental protections through smart growth policies. 

    Beginning in the 1990s, urban growth accelerated, reaching further into unique Sonoran Desert environments. Frequently, this was met with protests and conflicts between environmental activists and developers. These standoffs often resulted in protracted court battles and increased costs of doing business. In addition, these development wars, as some have called them, were tearing the community apart. 

    In 1998, under Huckelberry’s direction, the county began a process of community engagement in search of developing smart growth policies that would protect the desert landscape without grinding to a halt any proposed building development. The result of this multi-year endeavor was the adoption of the Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan, which has been nationally and internationally recognized as a model conservation and smart growth policy.  

    While the origins of the SDCP grew from the bitter development disputes of the 1990s, by the time the County received a federal Section 10 designation in 2015, prominent members of the building and construction industries had come to support the policies of the plan. 

    Speaking with the Arizona Daily Star in 2015, former Republican state lawmaker and Tucson Association of Realtors representative Steve Huffman said: “Open-space conservation is the common ground between the environmental community and the business community.” 
    The fulfillment of the SDCP provided the certainty sought by both environmentalists who wanted protections for animal species and open spaces, and the business community that needed to know the development rules were established and reliable so that proposed projects couldn’t be stopped in their tracks by third-party lawsuits. 

    As a result, the County has been able to provide protections for 44 native plant and animal species and owns or manages more than 230,000 acres of Sonoran Desert landscapes. 

    “Pima County has a national reputation for conservation that many communities envy. And it is directly due to the leadership and vision of Chuck Huckelberry; while elected officials and community members pushed and prodded, Chuck’s extraordinary skills developed the Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan, Pima County’s legacy,” said Carolyn Campbell, Executive Director, Coalition for Sonoran Desert Protection

    Building with bonds

    The County Bond Program stands as another important achievement of the Huckelberry era. Under the direction of Huckelberry, and with voter approval, an initiative spanning more than 20 years has seen the investment of $1.5 billion into public infrastructure and amenities. 

    By the late 1990’s, growth in Southern Arizona was in full swing. New subdivisions were sprouting up throughout the Tucson metro area, many in the unincorporated County areas of the Catalina Foothills and the northwest side. This growth put additional strain on an already aged and insufficient transportation system. New roads and expanded capacity were desperately needed to accommodate the influx of housing, residents, and cars that choked many regional thoroughfares. 

    Working with Transportation, Finance, and other County departments, Huckelberry proposed a plan: Fund transportation infrastructure with revenue bonds. In November 1997, County voters approved a plan to borrow $350 million against future HURF disbursements to the county to fund new capacity for area roads. This allowed the County to greatly expand roadway capacity, improve safety, and reduce congestion. In the final tally, 250 miles of new road lanes were built, 100 safety projects completed, and 55 new segments of roadway constructed, all resulting in a 43 percent reduction in congestion. 

    The successful effort to use bonding to complete roadway improvements was the impetus for the County to ask voters again to approve borrowing plans to fund infrastructure enhancements, flood control measures, environmental protections, public heath facilities, parks, public safety programs, sewer system improvements, and other vital community amenities. 

    Bond funding also has expanded the community recreational amenities, including 47 new sports fields, the lighting of 52 sports fields, 6 new pools, 13 new community centers, 15 new basketball courts, the acquisition of almost 500 acres for future parks and community facilities development, and increased recreational access to mountain parks through 10 new trailheads and over 100 miles of new trails.

    Through the 1997 HURF Bonds; 2004, 2006, and 2014 General Obligation Bonds; and 2004 Sewer Revenue Bonds, the County has completed more than 700 projects in every jurisdiction within the County. 
    https://webcms.pima.gov/government/bonds/

    Despite frequent criticisms and mischaracterizations of the County’s bond programs from some quarters, a state Legislature-mandated audit in 2013 lauded the program as a unique collaborative endeavor by the County, cities, towns and tribal nations to improve public infrastructure. Further, the audit found bond projects were equitably dispersed through the jurisdictions and met all the financial benchmarks established. 
    https://webcms.pima.gov/common/pages/UserFile.aspx?fileId=27326

    Necessity, the mother of invention 

    Another expansive accomplishment of the Huckelberry tenure has been the completion of The Loop, or more accurately, the recently renamed Chuck Huckelberry Loop. The Loop is a 130-mile, multi-use path traversing the metro area. Over the years The Loop has grown to become one of the most beloved and widely used amenities in Southern Arizona. 

    The story of The Loop’s development is one of necessity and vision. The Loop is the byproduct of a massive Pima County Regional Flood Control District project to protect lives and property from catastrophic seasonal flooding. 

    Following the devastating floods of 1983, the Flood Control District began to devise lasting strategies to prevent flood damage and loss of life. This planning ultimately led to creation of soil cement bank reinforcements that fortified the ephemeral rivers and washes that course through the region. 

    These soil cement structures, essentially walls lining the washes and rivers, and the access easements used to build and maintain them, became a natural pathway for residents who lived nearby to walk, run, or bike along. As more bank reinforcements began to wend their way through the region, it became clear an additional use was developing. 

    Over the years, new sections of soil cement reinforcements spawned the creation river parks, with larger pathways for pedestrians and cyclists. Piece by piece, and link by link, the vision of The Loop came into focus. 

    In 2018, The Loop truly became a loop. The County finished two sections of bank protection on the Rillito River and Pantano Wash making the final connection. Expansion of The Loop continues, with connections being made from various neighborhood paths and streets and future proposals to expand south along the Santa Cruz River and east along the Tanque Verde. 

    Protecting property and lives

    In addition to the bank protection efforts, other enormous flood control measures were completed on Huckelberry’s watch. Perhaps the most significant of these is the sweeping Arroyo Chico Multi-Use Project. 

    Like The Loop, Arroyo Chico is a Regional Flood Control District flood mitigation, environmental restoration, and recreational enhancement project. In coordination with the City of Tucson and the Army Corps of Engineers, the 20-year, $70 million project improved drainage throughout the midtown and Fourth Avenue areas, adding or expanding culverts, creating retention basins, and constructing underground drainage systems connecting to the Santa Cruz. 

    While much of the Arroyo Chico project lies unseen below the surface, significant portions hide in plain sight. Take for instance the City of Tucson’s Randolph Golf Course. Redevelopment of the golf course meets dual needs – creating a more challenging and aesthetically pleasing course and providing a massive stormwater retention basin in the event of a major flood event. The golf course can detain upstream floodwaters from Arroyo Chico and Naylor Wash to protect downstream residents in the Colonia Solana, Broadway Village and Broadmoor subdivisions. Similarly, the Cherry Field Detention Basin at Kino Parkway and 15th Street provides a multi-use facility, with athletic fields the primary use and flood detention the secondary purpose.

    The downstream effect of the Arroyo Chico project culminates in the removal of more than 1,050 residences or businesses from floodplains totaling at least $230 million in assessed property value, collectively saving property owners millions of dollars in flood insurance costs. The project has effectively reduced the size of the floodplain by 72 percent.

    Charting a new course

    Despite the massive investment through bond funding in infrastructure expansions and past reforms to the state’s Highway User Revenue Fund formula, Pima County, like other Arizona jurisdictions, has struggled to keep up with capital needs. 

    With the public rejection of a bond-funded infrastructure plan in 2015 and an unwillingness to create a countywide sales tax for such funding, a new way to pay for capital projects was needed. This led County administration to develop PAYGO, a policy to use General Fund resources to pay for capital infrastructure projects, including road repair. 

    The plan, developed and Board-approved in 2019, will provide up to $50 million a year for the construction and maintenance of County infrastructure and facilities. Eventually, the PAYGO program will fund repairs to every street and road in Pima County. What’s more, the plan was designed to not increase tax rates. 

    This will be achieved by incrementally transferring the secondary property tax rate to the primary property tax rate as previous bonds are paid off. Past bond programs were funded through the secondary tax, as that debt is retired the associated tax rate naturally declines. 

    The Board-approved policy will allow for funding projects such as road repairs and County building rehabilitations, while keeping the tax rate constant and eventually decreased. 

    The rate decrease will occur as the tax base grows through increased valuations.  As this occurs, County policy is to apply 60 percent of the tax base increase to PAYGO and reduce the primary tax rate to provide tax relief for the remaining 40 percent growth in the tax base.

    A whole new ballgame

    What started in the mid-1990s as a new regional park to serve residents on the south side of the metro area has grown into one of Arizona’s premier youth, amateur, and professional sports facilities and an important piece of the regional tourism and hospitality economies. 

    Kino Sports Complex, originally Kino Veterans Memorial Sports Park and Community Center, quickly grew in scope and grandeur. Even before the original park was dedicated in August 1996, a plan was set in motion to construct a Major League Baseball stadium on adjacent County property where the Arizona Diamondbacks and Chicago White Sox would hold Spring Training.  

    The stadium, now named Kino Veteran’s Memorial Stadium, was completed in 1998 and included practice fields, locker rooms, and concessions. The 11,000-seat ballpark hosted Spring Training and minor league seasons for more than a decade before the big leaguers decided to relocate. But as baseball left, new opportunities were on deck. 

    In 2012, Major League Soccer began its off-season training tenure, demonstrating the viability of Kino Sports Complex as more than just baseball fields. The County has since reinvested multiple times in the Kino Complex, constructing additional soccer fields and a stadium on the north side of Ajo. A semipro development soccer league calls the stadium its home as well as numerous youth, collegiate, and international professional leagues of various sports who play tournaments at Kino facilities. 

    Use of the Kino amenities continued to increase, with leagues vying for limited field space and private and corporate clients leasing facilities for events. On any given week, Kino would have daily sports and other events scheduled. 

    This success opened the doors to new possibilities for a southside complex on adjacent County-owned parcels. From a vision to provide a park and community amenities for an underserved area, Kino Sports Complex today spans more than 500 acres, has a more than 5,000 parking capacity, 22 soccer fields, 10 baseball fields, five full-service clubhouses, and more improvements planned.

    The County in 2016 purchased land south of Interstate 10 for the expansion of Kino. The first phase of the expansion is complete and the first 85-acres of development opened in January 2020 with new soccer fields and pickleball courts. Even before opening day, Kino South Sports Complex had bookings scheduled years in advance. The remaining 200 acres are being developed by a public-private partnership with Knott Development called Mosaic Quarter that will include multiple sports and entertainment facilities, including a multisheet iceplex. 

    First, do no harm

    As the new millennium began, it was clear a new direction was needed for the Kino Community Hospital. 

    Opened in 1977, the County-run hospital had over the years fallen into financial distress. Led partly by a complex system of cost reimbursements from federal and state agencies for indigent care, the hospital struggled to maintain clinical staff and provide services. By the early 2000s, Kino Community Hospital had come to cost taxpayers nearly $40 million annually while struggling to keep up with the demands for service.  

    In 2004, the County entered into an agreement with University Physicians Inc. (UPI), the physician faculty practice for the University of Arizona College of Medicine, to develop strategies to run the hospital in ways that better serve the community. A series of complicated negotiations eventually resulted in an agreement to transfer state licenses and lease the facility to the physicians’ group to run the hospital and expand medical services beyond the County’s legal mandate for behavioral health treatment.

    The agreement to operate the hospital resulted in an immediate impact on the levels and quality of healthcare services at Kino. In short order, additional medical services were restored or brought on. The emergency room reopened, surgical procedures increased, clinical services grew, and graduate medical education was added. 

    County bond funds were used for construction of a new Public Health Center to consolidate clinical and administrative services in one location at Kino. Voter-approved bonds also supported the building of expanded psychiatric and behavioral health services on site with a Crisis Response Center and Behavioral Health Pavilion. These facilities allow law enforcement to defer those experiencing mental health crises for treatment instead of bringing them to jail, where costs are greater and outcomes worse. 

    Further improvements to facilities and medical services were realized with the implementation of an agreement with Banner Healthcare to run the hospital, now named Banner-University Medical Center South. Banner Healthcare has invested nearly $10 million in facilities improvements at the hospital and continues to expand medical services. 

    The hospital system improvements also have been a financial benefit to the community. Whereas in 2004 the annual costs to taxpayers for operating the diminished hospital neared $40 million, today the vastly expanded system operates with an annual contract amount of $15 million.  

    “Give us the tools, and we will finish the job,” Winston Churchill

    Any one of the major projects completed under Huckelberry’s direction would be enough to build a career on. Never one to linger on his accomplishments, however, Huckelberry always pressed on to the next challenge, and pushed those with him to carry on as well. 

    To tally the full list of accomplishments of the former administrator’s career would be an overwhelming chore. However, many of those achievements deserve recognition. Here’s just a few: 
    • Consolidation of the regional public libraries into one, County-run free public library with 28 branches.
    • Creation of Pima County Wireless Integrated Network to enable public safety agencies to communicate across networks and jurisdictional boundaries. 
    • Completion of a $605 million wastewater system improvement, including new treatment facilities producing high-quality water discharge. 
    • Finalization of the Ed Pastor Kino Environmental Restoration Project (KERP), a massive water harvesting facility providing recreation opportunities and irrigation water for Kino Sports Park. 
    • Purchased strategic land parcels near Raytheon and Davis-Monthan Airforce Base minimizing urban encroachment and allowing for a road realignment and significant employment expansions.
    • Development of the comprehensive OneStop workforce training and employment centers to connect adult and youth workers with employers. 
    • Transitioned County employee medical coverage to a self-insurance system and high deductible health plan to reduce nearly $50 million in premium costs. 
    • Reformed and streamlined building and permitting process through efficiency measures resulting in rapid turnaround, remote inspections, and a fully digital records system. 
    • Adaptive reuse of the Historic Courthouse turned a decaying 90-year-old iconic building into a bustling tourist attraction and community gathering spot. 
    • Weathering the storm of the Great Recession. Through skillful budgeting, the County made it through the 2008-2009 recession without significant budget cuts, layoffs, or tax increases. 
    Perhaps Huckelberry’s greatest achievement is one of longevity. During his term as County Administrator there have been nearly a dozen new Tucson City Managers; a half dozen University of Arizona Presidents; and numerous Tucson Unified School District superintendents. Board Chair Sharon Bronson chalks up Huckelberry’s persistence to math. 

    “As a civil engineer, you would expect him to be good at math. But most people have no idea how good he is. There isn’t a dollar of our $1 billion budget that he can’t recall from memory and tell you where it came from, what it is for, and the value received by the citizens for its expenditure,” Bronson said. 

    “But perhaps his best math was his ability to count to three. On a five-member board, three votes are all you need, and he got three votes year in and year out for 28 years. And if you think that’s easy to do, just look around and see how many city and town managers there have been and how many school superintendents that have come and gone while Chuck was able to keep a majority of an ever-changing board of supervisors satisfied. He could count to three for all those years because he was really good at his job and the majority of the board, even when they were mad at him, agreed,” she said. 

    Current and Former Elected Officials


    Senator Mark Kelly
    Senator Mark Kelly
    “Chuck Huckelberry has diligently served Pima County for more than three decades, starting off as an engineer and then eventually earning the position of County Administrator. In his tenure, Administrator Huckelberry has not only created lasting, positive change that he will be remembered by, he also mentored and empowered up-and-coming leaders along the way. I wish him the best as he turns his focus to his full recovery, and I know that his years of service have set our County up for success for decades to come.”

    — Senator Mark Kelly

    ***

    Senator Kyrsten Sinema
    Senator Kyrsten Sinema
    “I join Arizonans across Pima County congratulating Chuck Huckelberry on his incredible legacy of public service. Chuck’s hard work, innovation, and dedication to Pima County helped fuel economic opportunities across Southern Arizona. I’m grateful for Chuck’s leadership and wish him a speedy and complete recovery.”

    – Senator Kyrsten Sinema

    ***

    Ron Barber
    Ron Barber
    “Chuck Huckelberry has had many significant accomplishments as the Pima County Administrator. One that is particularly important to the relatives of the six people who were killed and to the survivors of the January 8, 2011, shooting, was his support for the January 8th. Memorial. Chuck was instrumental in getting the Memorial built. Without his help, we would not have been able overcome the many construction challenges. He took a personal interest in the design, placement and landscaping of the Memorial. He was flexible, accessible and a great partner. His only non-negotiable request was that we protect the beautiful crested Saguaro Cactus in the northwest memorial garden. We affectionately called it "Chuck's Cactus." It is beautiful and is an iconic, living part of the Memorial. On behalf of the January 8th. Memorial Foundation Board of Directors, I want to thank Chuck for always being available to us and for his wise advice. We join with a grateful community in thanking Chuck for his successfully implemented vision for Pima County and in wishing him a full recovery from his injuries.”

    — Ron Barber, Former U.S. Congressman and January 8 shooting survivor  

    ***

    Jim Kolbe
    Jim Kolbe
    “There is no public servant in the memory of any of us in Pima County—or even in the state of Arizona—who has contributed as much to the advancement of a county as Chuck Huckelberry has for Pima County.  He is truly a legend of national stature.  He will be sorely missed."

    — Jim Kolbe, Former U.S. Congressman

    ***

    Chris Nanos
    Chris Nanos
    “Mr. Huckelberry will leave a huge void in county government. I have been privileged to work closely with him and he has always been a strong supporter of public safety.  I am saddened to see him retire, but we wish him, Maureen, and his family well and that his health be fully restored.”    

    — Chris Nanos, Pima County Sheriff 

    ***

    Gabriella Cázares-Kelly
    Gabriella Cázares-Kelly
    “We're incredibly thankful for Mr. Huckelberry’s many years of service to the people of Pima County. His institutional knowledge of Pima County is astounding. The information he provided to my team during our transition into office was invaluable. He offered insightful reflections on our efforts and understood the importance of evolution and the changing needs of our community. We’re grateful for the strong foundation he built in Pima County that will allow us to serve our constituency, uninterrupted. We wish him and his family the best as he continues to heal.” 

    — Gabriella Cázares-Kelly, Pima County Recorder 

    ***

    Suzanne Droubie
    Suzanne Droubie
    “There is no collection of words that can summarize all that Chuck Huckelberry accomplished and his impact on Pima County, so I will just thank him for his steadfast dedication and devoted service. He is someone that I admire and have looked to for wisdom and advice, and that will never change. His presence will be missed. I wish him and his family all the best in the future.” 

    — Suzanne Droubie, Pima County Assessor 

    ***

    Jonathan Rothschild
    Jonathan Rothschild
    “Chuck is one of a kind. His impact in the community will be longstanding. Although we didn’t always agree, we always respected one another and came back to the table with a clean slate. Chuck’s knowledge of the workings of government was invaluable. I know we all wish him the best in his retirement.” 

    — Jonathan Rothschild, Former Mayor, City of Tucson  

    ***

    Paul Cunningham
    Paul Cunningham
    “I want to wish Chuck well in his continued recovery and thank him for his many contributions to our region over the last three decades.  I’ll think of Chuck every time I ride The Loop. A good portion of The Loop runs through Ward 2 and Chuck made it happen.  It’s given folks on the east side more acreage for recreation, connectivity to other parts of the Tucson area, and a unique outdoor experience we can all enjoy and be proud of. 

    "I’ll also remember how much he taught me when I worked for the county and the impact he had on me growing up.  He and my father were long time colleagues and contemporaries. In the months before his accident, I had had a couple of minor disagreements but that did not take away from the fact that he was one of the most effective administrators our community has ever known.”

    — Paul Cunningham, Tucson City Council Member, Ward 2

    ***

    Kevin Dahl
    Kevin Dahl
    “I want to thank Chuck Huckelberry for his steadfast opposition to the proposed Rosemont mine, his commitment to the Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan, and his foresight in creating the Chuck Huckelberry loop. He has left a magnificent legacy for the residents (animals, plants, and people) of Pima County. All my best to Chuck and Maureen.”

    — Kevin Dahl, Tucson City Council Member, Ward 3

    ***

    Steve Kozachik
    Steve Kozachik
    “Chuck and I did a little arm wrestling over the Pima Animal Care Center, we did some arm wrestling over the RTA, some jiu-jitsu over water rates - and we share a common sense of professional and personal respect for one another through it all. Chuck has been instrumental in the creation of the Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan, completing construction of the Loop, and yes - upgrading the PACC, setting it on a path to being a premier no-kill shelter.  I wish him and his family the best during his retirement, and a full and speedy recovery. Especially a full and speedy recovery so we can greet each other again soon out on the Loop."

    — Steve Kozachik, Tucson City Council Member, Ward 6

    ***

    Bob Teso
    Bob Teso
    “Thank you, Chuck. For your tremendous leadership skills. For your compassionate care for all Pima County residents. And for calling me from Greyhound Park to tell me COVID vaccinations for 65+ year old residents were waning in the early Saturday afternoon and should be made available to all residents, sparking into action the talent of local residents to spread the word throughout the South Tucson community that vaccine was available. Godspeed your recovery.”

    — Bob Teso, Mayor of South Tucson

    ***

    Ed Honea
    Ed Honea
    “Chuck Huckelberry was very instrumental in helping to form the RTA in 2006.  His leadership helped provide guidance to improve the infrastructure for all of Pima County.”

    — Ed Honea, Mayor, Town of Marana  

    ***

    Joe Winfield
    Joe Winfield
    “The Town of Oro Valley is privileged to have worked with Chuck Huckelberry on many issues and projects of regional importance over the past several decades.  Under Chuck’s leadership, the Town and our community have benefitted from partnerships in economic development, transportation, flood control, animal care and control, pedestrian and bicycle paths, and so much more. I’ve been privileged to work with Chuck during my tenure as Mayor, and on behalf of the Town Council, Town staff and the entire Oro Valley community, I would like to wish Chuck the very best in his well-earned retirement, and continued health and happiness.” 

    — Joe Winfield, Mayor of Oro Valley  

    ***

    Tom Murphy
    Tom Murphy
    “On behalf of the Town of Sahuarita, I want to express our gratitude to Mr. Huckelberry for nearly three decades of public service as Pima County administrator. His tenure has spanned the entirety of Sahuarita’s incorporated history to date. Mr. Huckelberry’ leaves a noteworthy legacy and we sincerely thank him for his service to our residents and the entire region.”

    — Tom Murphy, Mayor of Sahuarita 

    ***

    “Chuck Huckelberry and I worked very closely together. I was chair for 27 of the 48 months I spent on the board. Chuck and I would spend a day together each week, working on Mondays to put the board meeting together for Tuesday. I came to have great respect for him. He understood that the board is elected by the citizens and he is not. He has worked out very well, and I am sorry to see him leave.”

    — Paul Marsh, Former Pima County Supervisor, District Four  

    ***

    Ray Carroll
    Ray Carroll
    “He has an incredible footprint in the region.  

    "My dealings with Chuck are always quite personal. We always just talked on the phone. The No. 1 thing about Chuck was accessibility. He would talk to me at any hour of the day or night. When there was bad news that struck the county – maybe a beloved department member passed or something happened -- there would be Chuck himself who would call me to say there was something I should know about. Chuck was very accessible for the good times and the bad times. But mostly the important times. 

    "And he was never a guy who left off talking to a supervisor just because the supervisor didn't happen to be in the majority. I think no matter who worked with Chuck, they'll note that he was comfortable in addressing them with the facts, just as if they were the chairman of the board, no matter what level supervisor they were.  

    "The other thing about Chuck is that's easy to note how much Chuck's friends and his supporters have confidence that he's not going to embarrass them or let them down. He knows how to calm the waters and move toward the doable and away from the impossible. He knew what was achievable. And that's the thing I liked about Chuck the most. I could get a little riled on occasion and get my Irish up about something, but Chuck put it in perspective for me. And then later there would be cooler heads and a breaking of the bread where we resolved issues. I seldom heard of Chuck ever having conflicts with people. He was very aware of the need for him to be completely neutral, impartial, a non-provocateur. He was just a really easy guy to work with. Honest as you could go. He didn't get to stay where he was for that many decades by being the opposite of the things I mentioned. He had great integrity, and it was obvious to those who he worked with and those he worked for.  

    "I would say his legacy is simply his length of service and all the things that went into it. The Huckelberry Loop named after him for obvious reasons. Yeah. Who else could take credit for that? That's an honest naming if I'd ever seen one. Spot on. He deserved that. But there are a lot of other things; you just can't put his name on it.  

    "Chuck leaves behind one hell of a desert garden. That's how I like to explain Chuck and Pima County. All the things he had to fix inside the garden were tended to by a master gardener, making sure it was well taken care of and not prone to be taken over by weeds after he left. He trained a lot of people to care for it. And that's what I think of Chuck.”

    — The Honorable Ray Carroll, Judge, Green Valley Justice Court and former District 4 Supervisor, Pima County Board of Supervisors 

    ***

    Ramón Valadez
    Ramón Valadez
    “He's like a brother to me. I first met Chuck when he was the Department of Transportation Director and I was 17. I was an intern for Dan Eckstrom at the time. Over the years we've had an evolving relationship, and it really has been a wonderful friendship and partnership between the two of us. But he's really kind of fit the role for many years as a big brother.  

    "As a county administrator, I would tell you his style was one of let's get it done. One of the things that made our relationship so strong is both of us have an engineering background and we think very similarly in terms of analytical thought and processes. So, it's never a question of I can't figure out how to do it. It was always let's figure it out.   

    "I could name so many legacies. One that immediately pops to mind is the Regional Transportation Authority. People outside the RTA and inside the RTA thought it would never happen. And there was a lot of compromise. There was a lot of discussion. There was a lot of action among ourselves. We all kind of held hands, figured it out and got it done. 

    "I've always told people that the way we should think of the Board and Chuck is that the Board is the Admiralty, meaning we get to decide where the Navy is going. Chuck is the captain on the ship and figures out how to get us there. And he's always been that way -- once we make a decision, he figures out how to get us there. There's no one better. "


    PERSONAL STORY: 

    "He's part of family. One of the things that I just absolutely treasure might seem like a small act to somebody else. But it is a tremendous, tremendous act for me. When my wife and I got married in 2013, we had a fairly small wedding. And, of course, Chuck and Maureen were invited. And Chuck got in line and he hugged me. And that hug means more to me than almost anything else he's ever done personally. That's pretty cool. I don't think most people understand that side of Chuck. "


    LOOP:

    "We named the loop after Chuck and rightfully so. But the funniest part was that when we had that conversation, he actually fought the idea. And then I looked him in the eye and said, Chuck, who works for who here? He laughed. He appreciated that we named the Loop after him but he was never somebody that needs the credit. That's what made him so good at his job.” 

    — Ramón Valadez, former District 2 Supervisor, Pima County Board of Supervisors 

    ***

    Ally Miller
    Ally Miller
    “Congratulations on your retirement after 29 years as Pima county administrator.  Your work overseeing the county finances as well as the varied and complex community and infrastructure projects has served the residents of Pima County well. It isn’t often one achieves 29 years in the position of county administrator which is a real credit to you as a professional. I know it wasn’t easy keeping all the board members on the same page during our meetings. 

    "You and the other board members may recall a limerick that was written and read at a board meeting by Tom Jenney of Americans for Prosperity. There was one line that read 

    'And we wish Ally all the luck in her future tangles with The Chuck.' Chuck, I think that even you laughed at that one. 

    "You and I had our disagreements over the years and some heated debates. I believe the debates kept us more informed and made us all better stewards of taxpayer monies. Unfortunately for me, you always had those 3 votes!     
    "You worked hard Chuck and no one can take that from you. You were always the first one in supervisor row in the morning, no matter how early I came in to work.  I often wondered if you slept in your office because it became a personal challenge to get in the office before you. It never happened! 

    "I must say there is one thing that I don't miss, and I suspect the other board members won’t miss either. I don't miss those 50- to 80-page memorandums that you would send out on Friday afternoons for the board meetings on Tuesday morning! You could probably hear the groans shortly after you pushed the send button. I always envisioned you smiling when you heard the groans and saying my work here is done. 

    "I sincerely wish you all the best in your healing and hope someday soon you are back out there again enjoying the beauty along The Chuck Huckelberry Loop.”

    — Ally Miller, former District 1 Supervisor, Pima County Board of Supervisors

    ***

    Ally Miller
    David Yetman
    "I have known a lot of administrators, but I have never known anyone with the ability to administer 10 different things at the same time and have a comprehensive grasp of all that was involved, who was doing what and all the effects they were going to have. He had an administrative mind that is very seldom seen in this world. I certainly had strong disagreements with Chuck, but I never ceased to admire his ability to completely understand everything going on."

    "The origins of the Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan and other conservation efforts came out of the 1983 floods. Chuck and I were involved in an aggressive campaign of buying out flood-prone areas. Part of a ranch, which included Cienega Creek, came up for sale. I talked to Chuck about the need to move quickly to purchase this as part of our flood control efforts. He said fine, but in order for the county to do that, we had to have an appraisal. I told Chuck I wanted to go out to the property, and he sent Lynn Fowler, who was a chief appraiser. Less than a year later, I married her. My marriage to this fantastic woman originated in the pre-Conservation Plan machinations, with a little help from Chuck."

    — David Yetman, Former Pima County Supervisor, District 5

    ***

    F. Ann Rodriguez
    F. Ann Rodriguez
    “Chuck has always been very congenial. We had a mutual respect. Not that we didn’t have our disagreements, but he was always more than willing to help when we came into elections and support my department on what we needed.

    “He was great for the county. He had a mastermind and was a workaholic. I would be in my office (in the Historic Courthouse) and I would see him come from the YMCA carrying his little white styrofoam cup of coffee. He was never a Starbucks guy. And if I needed anything or had to ask him a quick question, I would just run out of the building so I could catch him.

    I think he did great work. I’m sure people didn’t always agree with him. He took on issues and he won some and he lost some. But then you move on.”

    — F. Ann Rodriguez, Pima County Recorder, 1993-2020 

    ***

    Dan Eckstrom
    Dan Eckstrom
    “I knew Chuck all the way back when he was an engineer in the transportation department. Then I watched him move up to become the director and then throughout his career with Pima County, all the way to County Administrator. From 1988 to 2003,I had a chance to work with him very closely on all the different things that we did in Pima county government. Chuck was by far one of the smartest people that I ever met in local government, and I consider myself a pretty good expert.   

    "Chuck is probably a hero for a lot of people in this community. He not only knew how to get things done, but he also knew how to build things. And I don't mean construction like a building, but he did that, too. Chuck was a real champion in working on behalf of serving some of our disadvantaged and marginalized communities.  

    "I live in South Tucson and he grew up in the Flowing Wells area. And one time I was kidding him that he was from Barrio Flowing Wells. And I say that because he comes from a simple beginning, and he really excelled in taking care of needs of people that nobody ever thought about. You look at all the bond issues and all the money that was spent by Pima County. He knew how to put it together. He brought in the right people to work with him. But he was the brains of everything.  

    "And on top of that, he was very generous to people. I live in South Tucson; we have a place here called Casa Maria. It's a soup kitchen. They feed homeless but most of all they feed families. Chuck always found ways to get people to support them. That shows he's not only working on the big things that you do is as a county administrator, but he's also out there helping people, and it's probably a side of Chuck that a lot of people don't see because Chuck is not one to go out and try to get glory. He never was like that. 

    "I remember when Pima County reached a billion-dollar budget level. Chuck knew everything. He knew where things were. Our county was always in good hands. All the audits that we used to have and all the other reports were just exemplary.  

    "When I was the mayor of South Tucson, I worked with him, because I was part of the Regional Council and Pima Association of Governments. At that time, there were only three members, there was the City of Tucson, Pima County and the City of South Tucson. I had an equal vote. But on issues where I needed some guidance, I could go to Chuck. And he was always there to help. " 


    CHUCK'S STYLE: 

    “I voted for more things that he wanted than I voted against. But, no matter what, he never stopped coming around and informing you. He was good at informing and educating the elected officials. I've seen people in government administrations that when they get to the top, they isolate themselves. But he worked with everybody. I remember we had some supervisors that didn't like him. But even though they didn't like him, and they would go against most of what he wanted, he always went to them and kept them informed and educated on issues that were before them I used to go into his office and say, Chuck, can we do this? He never said no, we can't do it. He would say, Well, let's look at it.  

    "Look at all the facilities that have been built by the County. Chuck was the brains behind that. Everybody used to criticize him for that but you look at all the assets Pima County has. You look at the Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan. That's national prominence. The Chuck Huckelberry Loop. National prominence.  

    "I can tell you that in the City of South Tucson, he put together projects. There's a group called Las Artes. It's the art educational and training center in Tucson, when you get kids that are dropouts, people who have been in trouble with the law; they didn't have an alternative to get an education. He made it possible for them to come in learn a little bit about arts, public arts, and not do it as a profession, but to learn how to work together, what teamwork was. And then the students who couldn't get along in public schools or other charter schools, he enabled them to get a high school equivalency diploma, and a lot of a lot of these kids are going on and I know have already gotten their doctorate. But it was Chuck that gave them the chance because he made sure that those programs were funded.  

    “I know that even though he's resigning, I will bet that he will always be there to support County. We're going to see Chuck in a different capacity because he's going to be a great advisor to those that are going to be running the county. And then he's going to probably be our best community ambassador because he knows so many people, has so much knowledge, and he was always willing to share it. I'm willing to bet that he's still going to give us all his wise counsel and advice to make things happen. “

    — Dan Eckstrom, former member, Pima County Board of Supervisors, District 2 

    ***

    Tucson Mayor Regina Romero
    Tucson Mayor Regina Romero
    “Chuck Huckelberry devoted his life to public service and leaves behind a long list of accomplishments. Our working relationship included agreement on issues such as improving our childcare system, the importance of manufacturing and creating high-wage jobs to our region, our work on the January 8th Memorial, and so much more. I have the most utmost respect for Chuck. I started my public service career with Chuck Huckelberry and Pima County. I am eternally grateful for the lessons I learned from Chuck.“

    — Tucson Mayor Regina Romero

    ***


    Community and Business Leaders


    Danette Bewley
    Danette Bewley
    “Pima County is better for the decades of progress due to the steadfast leadership of Chuck Huckelberry. His lifetime of public service should be celebrated long after his retirement. We all strive to match his dedication to community and commitment to promoting and growing Southern Arizona.”

    — Danette Bewley, Tucson Airport Authority President and CEO

    ***

    Sarah Frost
    Sarah Frost
    Chad Whelan
    Chad Whelan
    “For the past 28 years, Chuck Huckelberry has made our community’s health and safety a priority and worked in partnership with community members, businesses and the health care professionals at Banner – University Medicine and other organizations to help make our community beautifully prosperous and thriving. We’d like to thank Chuck for the extraordinary stewardship he has provided for our community, in particular for the leadership he provided in the Banner - University Medical Center South partnership. Your contributions will impact generations and we wish you the best in your retirement. "

    —Sarah Frost, CEO, Banner – University Medical Center Tucson and Banner – University Medical Center South and Chad Whelan, President, Banner – University Medicine

    ***

    Robert Robbins
    Robert Robbins
    “Chuck Huckelberry has had an indelible impact in Pima County, and his service to our community is to be admired and emulated. The University of Arizona has benefitted from his partnership, and I have enjoyed working with him, as have my colleagues at the university. We wish him the very best in his retirement.”

    — Robert Robbins, President, The University of Arizona

    ***

    Ted Maxwell
    Ted Maxwell
    “The senior business leaders of the Southern Arizona Leadership Council have always appreciated Administrator Huckelberry’s willingness to engage with us on issues of significance to the business community. Our fondest memories of Chuck were his leadership and his efforts to craft, amend and then support the first Pima County Regional Transportation Authority. His insight, willingness to engage with the community, and his advocacy helped to ensure that the voters approved the RTA. The RTA has had the most significant impact on the economy and quality of life within Pima County. SALC heartily thanks Administrator Huckelberry for his years of service to the region.”

    — Ted Maxwell, President and CEO, Southern Arizona Leadership Council

    ***

    Magdalena Verdugo
    Magdalena Verdugo
    “The YWCA Southern Arizona sends its thanks and regards to Mr. Huckelberry for his years of service to Pima County. One lasting legacy of his tenure will undoubtedly be The Loop and its connection to our communities and neighborhoods. We also recognize that the assignment of staff and allocation of resources toward the declaration of racism and income inequality as a public health crisis will help ensure that this pivotal work has viability for the future of Pima County. We thank you, Chuck, and wish you peace and dignity.”

    — Magdalena Verdugo, CEO, YWCA Southern Arizona

    ***

    Wes Kremer
    Wes Kremer
    “The name Chuck Huckelberry is synonymous with the growth of Pima County.  When Raytheon was looking to expand our operations a few years ago, it would not have been possible without the creation of an access road and additional infrastructure requiring the collaboration of city, state and county officials. Chuck was essential to that collaboration and partnership, and, ultimate, success. He helped ensure we had what we needed that led to increased capabilities and expanded footprint. This is just one example of many successful accomplishments between Pima County and, then, Raytheon Missile Systems (now Raytheon Missiles and Defense) that may have not been made possible without his contributions. I wish Chuck the best in his well-deserved retirement and continued improvement in the physical recovery from his bicycling accident.”

    —Wes Kremer, President, Raytheon Missiles and Defense

    ***

    Tammi Barrick
    Tammi Barrick
    “Mr. Huckelberry has been a forward thinker when it comes to Pima Animal Care Center.  His support of the bond to construct the new PACC and the initiation of the innovative programs that have increased the quality of the life of our community pets have helped make PACC the national model it has become.  He has our gratitude for his great service and work with FOP.”

    —Tammi Barrick, Chair of Pima Animal Care Center Advisory Committee and Founding Board Chair of Friends of PACC

    ***

    Tony Penn
    Tony Penn
    “Pima County has been fortunate to have such a community champion in Administrator Huckelberry. Our community has been strengthened in so many ways by his leadership and vision. We at United Way of Tucson are proud to have worked side by side with him on important community initiatives including expanding access to quality early education. We are grateful for his service and dedication to Pima County. On a personal note, I am heartened by the news from the family that Chuck’s recovery is going well, however, I must admit a sense of loss at the news of his resignation. Wishing Chuck and family all the best in their next chapter.”

    — Tony Penn, president and CEO, United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona

    ***

    Judy Lowe
    Judy Lowe
    “Chuck’s reputation is undeniable. For decades, he has been a true leader with a passion for making our community better. He will be a hard act to follow. The Tucson Association of Realtors will miss working with him. We wish him well in his retirement and spending time with his family.”

    — Judy Lowe, Interim CEO, Tucson Associated of Realtors

    ***

    Kurtis Dawson
    Kurtis Dawson
    “For nearly 50 years, Chuck Huckelberry has strived and succeeded in making Pima County a community the YMCA of Southern Arizona is proud to call home. Since I arrived in Tucson five years ago, I have greatly appreciated Chuck’s support, counsel and friendship. Chuck’s legacy will forever be seen, heard and experienced by Tucsonans and visitors who treasure the natural desert landscape and/or are impacted by the businesses and organizations that serve Pima County residents. Through Chuck’s support and the county’s partnership with the YMCA, we have been able to dramatically increase our impact and help more individuals reach their fullest potential.”

    — Kurtis Dawson, president and CEO, YMCA of Southern Arizona 

    ***

    Linda S. Morales
    Linda S. Morales
    “DM50 could not have a better partner supporting Davis Monthan Air Force Base than Chuck Huckelberry. As the region’s 3rd largest employer, DMAFB generates $2.6 billion annually, employs more than 46,000 people, and is a key part of Pima County’s economy. Under Chuck’s outstanding leadership, Pima County has been a key partner in helping DM50 advocate for flying missions and establish numerous programs to enhance the quality of life of DM’s airmen and their families. Roadwork to make the new Wilmot gate a reality, military spouse employment assistance through Pima County’s One-Stop program, and full support in protecting the approach departure corridor through County policies and administration of the REPI Program are just a few of the examples of this support. We’re extremely grateful for all that Chuck has done for DM50 and DMAFB. We are cheering for his full recovery, as we know he has more chapters to write in his amazing legacy. But for now, thank you, Chuck!”

    — Linda S. Morales, President, DM50

    ***

    Joe Snell
    Joe Snell
    “Chuck was an ardent supporter of economic development and was always committed to the 'why we can get it done rather than the why we can’t’ approach. On behalf of our entire Board of Directors, we wish him the absolute best in his recovery.”

    — Joe Snell, President & CEO, Sun Corridor Inc.

    ***

    Carolyn Campbell
    Carolyn Campbell
    “Pima County has a national reputation for conservation that many communities envy. And it is directly due to the leadership and vision of Chuck Huckelberry; while elected officials and community members pushed and prodded, Chuck’s extraordinary skills developed the Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan, Pima County’s legacy.”

    — Carolyn Campbell, Executive Director, Coalition for Sonoran Desert Protection


    Current and Former Government Officials


    Michael Ortega
    Michael Ortega
    “I have had the great opportunity to work for and with Chuck over my career in public service. I have admired his leadership skills, his creativity, and the commitment that he had to serve the people of Pima County. His ability to look at a problem as an opportunity and develop a creative solution is second to none. One example is taking what seemed like a crazy requirement to mitigate the bank protection along the Santa Cruz River and turn that mitigation into what we now know as The Loop (appropriately named after him). I appreciated his friendship and partnership as we worked together with the elected officials to bring our community through the tremendous challenges of the pandemic. He leaves a legacy that will last for generations and I wish him a complete recovery and hope to see him soon again riding the Loop.“

    — Michael Ortega, City Manager, City of Tucson

    ***

    Richard Miranda
    Richard Miranda
    “I first met Chuck in 1974 when I was a summer student employee at the former Pima County Highway Department where both Chuck and my father worked. On my first day on the job my father pointed to him and told me, ‘Pay attention to that guy, he’s smart.’ I have known Chuck for over 40 years and I can tell everyone, my dad was right.  From my family to his, we wish them the best.”

    — Richard Miranda, Former Manager, City of Tucson

    ***

    Judy Rich
    Judy Rich
    “Thank you to Administrator Huckleberry for your decades of service and commitment to the people of Pima County. In the face of the most challenging of circumstances, we have always found a steady and committed partner in Pima County. Our region is stronger, individuals are healthier and have more opportunities and Southern Arizona is poised for great things for many years to come because of your contributions.“

    — Judy Rich, Tucson Medical Center CEO and Chair, Sun Corridor Board

    ***

    Jenny Flynn
    Jenny Flynn
    “Chuck Huckelberry’s decades of steady and visionary leadership have directly contributed to a more vibrant community for those of us lucky enough to live in Pima County. Here at the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona, we look to our partners in local government to work together with philanthropists and the nonprofit sector to build our community. All southern Arizonans who live in, do business with, or visit Pima County enjoy the benefits of Chuck’s leadership through his success in preserving the character of our urban environment, creating accessible recreational spaces, and conserving natural ones.“

    — Jenny Flynn, President & CEO, Community Foundation for Southern Arizona

    Promotions and Leadership

    1974-1977: Field Engineer, Pima County Transportation Department 
    1977-1979: Deputy Director, Pima County Transportation Department 
    1979-1986: Director, Pima County Transportation Department and Flood Control District 
    1986-1993: Assistant County Manager for Public Works 
    1993: Director, Capital Planning 
    1993: Interim County Administrator 
    1994-2022: County Administrator 

    Awards and Accolades

    2019 162nd Fighter Wing of the Arizona Air National Guard – Patrick Henry Award
    2017 Arizona Transportation Builder's Association – Person of the Year Award
    2016 Arizona Transportation Legacy Award
    2012 162nd Fighter Wing of the Arizona Air National Guard – Pima County Named Employer of the Year
    2011 Sonoran Desert Conservation Award from the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
    2011 Public Servant of the Year Award, Tucson Mountains Association
    2011 Advocate of the Year, Tucson-Pima County Bicycle Advisory Committee
    2009 Alumni of the Year Award, The University of Arizona College of Engineering
    2008 Community Service Award, Arizona Women’s Conference
    2002 Outstanding Planning Award, American Planning Association
    2001/02 Ahwahnee Award
    2001 Everyday Hero Award, South Tucson Weed and Seed
    2001 Distinguished Leadership Award, Arizona Planning Association
    2001 Best Multi-Agency Plan/Coordination, American Planning Association
    2000 Community Service Award, League of United Latin American Citizens
    2000 Community Service Award, City of South Tucson
    1999 Outstanding Public Official, Arizona Parks and Recreation Association
    1999 Engineer of the Year, Arizona Society of Professional Engineers
    1998 Outstanding Pima County Civil Servant, National Association of Minority Contractors
    1998 Community Service Award, League of United Latin American Citizens
    1997 Man of the Year, Tucson Utility Contractors Association
    1996 YMCA Distinguished Service Award
    1985 Pima County Employee of the Year
    1981 Young Engineer of the Year, Arizona Society of Professional Engineers
    1980 Young Engineer of the Year, Arizona Society of Professional Engineers
    1979 Pima County Person of the Year, Southern Arizona Homebuilders Association

    Major accomplishments of the Huckelberry era

    1970

    • 1979: Pima County’s Regional Flood Control District constructs the first soil cement bank protection along the Santa Cruz River near downtown Tucson. This project laid the groundwork for what would eventually become The Chuck Huckelberry Loop.

    1980

    • Late 70s into the 80s: Pima County collaborates with the Federal Highway Administration, the Arizona Department of Transportation, the City of Tucson and Davis-Monthan Air Force Base to plan, design and implement transportation corridors in the southern and north-central areas of Pima County using federal funds. The Transportation Corridor Project results in the implementation of Kolb Road through Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Golf Links and Alvernon around the north boundary of DM, and Kino Boulevard from Interstate 10 to the airport.  
    • October 1983: Devastating floods sweep through Pima County, claiming lives and property. Pima County strategizes a plan to rebuild infrastructure to prevent future flood damage and loss of life. 
    • 1984: The Regional Flood Control District implements the Floodprone Land Acquisition Program (FLAP) to purchase flood-damaged property, and begins installing the ALERT flood threat recognition system throughout Pima County. 

    1990

    • 1990: Pima County agrees to fund 50 percent of operational and maintenance costs of the Tucson Public Library. The library system is renamed the Tucson-Pima Public Library. 
    • January 1990: Pima County enacts the Public Art Program, which allocates 1% of eligible capital improvement project funds to the commission, purchase and installation of artwork.
    • 1995: Work begins to improve stormwater drainage to a nearly five-mile-long segment of Arroyo Chico in midtown Tucson. The Arroyo Chico project would culminate in the removal of more than 1,050 residences or businesses from floodplains totaling at least $230 million in assessed property value.  
    • 1996: The County broke ground at Kino Sports Park for what would later be named Tucson Electric Park and would be home to Major League Baseball spring training and Minor League Baseball.  
    • 1997: Voters approve three bond programs: General Obligation, Sewer Revenue, and Highway User Revenue (HURF). 
      • $350 million (HURF) Bond Program. The HURF Bonds allowed the County to borrow against future gas tax distributions, which were used to fund roadway improvements and expansions. 
      • $257 million General Obligation Bond Program funded improvements to stormwater systems, libraries, purchases of open space lands, construction of recreational facilities, and other community investments. 
      • $105 million Sewer Revenue Bonds were used to update and expand wastewater reclamation facilities, and to improve and expand sewer systems. 
    • 1998: The Pima County Board of Supervisors approves the concept for the Sonoran Desert Conservation Program. 

    2000

    • 2004: Voters approve two bond programs: General Obligation Bonds and Sewer Revenue Bonds. 
      • $582 million in General Obligation Bonds were used to expand and improve stormwater systems, expand public health facilities, fund additional library improvements, and improve cultural amenities, historic preservation, neighborhood reinvestments, parks, open space and habitat protections. 
      • $150 million in Sewer Revenue Bonds to modernize treatment processes, improve water reclamation facilities, and rehabilitate wastewater conveyance systems. 
    • 2004: County enters agreement with University Physicians Inc. (UPI) to take over operations of the hospital, originally built in 1977. At the time, the hospital was a drain on County resources, costing more than $40 million annually to run while providing limited medical services. The hospital, now Banner-University Medical Center South, has continuously expanded medical offerings and facilities, and graduate medical education opportunities.  
    • 2005: Pima County develops the Regional Optimization Master Plan (ROMP) to invest more than $700 million in wastewater treatment processes and facilities to ensure that the quality of discharged water meets updated environmental standards. The program would be the largest and most complex public works program in County history.  
    • 2006: Huckelberry supports and helps pass the voter-approved Regional Transportation Authority, which included a half-cent sales tax for roadway and public
      transit expansion. The 20-year, $2 billion RTA plan built on the success of the 1997 road bond, adding roadway capacity but as importantly significantly increasing the amount and accessibility of public transit in the region.
    • 2006: Voters approve a $54 million General Obligation Bond program to build new and improve existing public health facilities at Kino campus. 
    • 2006: Pima County takes full control of the formerly jointly run Tucson-Pima Public Library, renaming the unified system the Pima County Public Library.  

    2010

    • 2013: A State Legislature-mandated audit praises the County Bond Program as a unique collaborative to improve public infrastructure.  
    • 2013: Pima County transitions from a fully insured to a self-insured model for medical coverage. 
    • 2014: Voters approve a $22 million General Obligation Bond program to construct a new animal care facility.  
    • 2014: Final improvements of the ROMP program are completed. Through careful management and diligent work, the program comes in at more than $100 million under budget.   
    • 2015: The Board of Supervisors approve a project to move Hughes Access Road a half mile south to prevent development encroachment on Raytheon Missile Systems. Since completion of the realignment, Raytheon has expanded its workforce by more than 1,000 while the roadway itself holds the possibility for more commercial and industrial development. 
    • 2016: Pima County Development Services launches a remote inspection program. The program allows County inspectors to connect with clients for building inspections without having to be on-site.
      The remote inspection program was one facet of a series of Development Services reforms to better serve the community. Among these were the full digitization of document submittal processes and the creation of concierge-type services so applicants can have a single contact throughout their application process.  
    • 2016: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service approves a Section 10 Permit for Multi-Species Conservation Plan. As a key part of the part of the SDCP, the application works to ensure compliance with endangered species regulations. 
    • 2016: The Board of Supervisors approve a plan to expand Kino Sports Complex to south of Interstate 10. The 90-acre Kino South development included competition-quality soccer fields and pickleball courts.  
    • 2017: The County begins preservation and adaptive reuse work on the Historic Courthouse.  
    • March 2018: Pima County finishes two sections of bank protection on the Rillito River and Pantano Wash, making the final connection to make The Loop an actual loop. Two months later, the Pima County Board of Supervisors approves renaming The Loop in honor of Huckelberry, in recognition of the role he played in making the multi-use path a reality.  
    • July 2018: The new Pima Animal Care Center facility opens for business. 

    2020

    • 2021: The County enters a public-private partnership with Knott Development to further expand Kino South. The agreement includes construction of indoor facilities for basketball, volleyball and other sports; an ice hockey complex; retail and hospitality development; and a commitment to serving underprivileged youth in the community.  
    • October 21, 2021: Pima County holds a dedication ceremony for the Tres Ríos Renewable Gas Center biogas cleaning facility, which puts 99-percent pure renewable natural gas directly into the Southwest Gas conveyance system bringing major benefits to our environment and taxpayers. This was Huckelberry’s last public speaking event as County Administrator. 
    • November 2021: Pima County completes the adaptive reuse renovation of the Historic Courthouse, which reopens to the public. The renovated building is now home to Pima County Administration and Attractions & Tourism, Visit Tucson, the Southern Arizona Heritage and Visitor Center, the University of Arizona’s Alfie Norville Gem & Mineral Museum and the January 8th Memorial. 
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    Pima County Governmental Center

    115 N. Church Ave.
    2nd Floor, Suite 231
    Tucson, Arizona 85701

    (520) 724-8661


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