We meet at the Roosevelt Commons Clubhouse, 825 N. 6th Ave. in downtown Phoenix. We have a few items on our plate, including a discussion of Hance Park and the finalization of our New Years’ Resolutions from January. Come join us with your thoughts and ideas.
Snacks? You never know!
We hope to see you there.
The Midtown Museum District Neighborhood Association (MMDNA) board meeting will be held on Tuesday, January 8 at 4:30 p.m. at Hob Nobs, 149 W. McDowell Rd. All are welcome. You are also welcome to email to firstname.lastname@example.org any questions or comments that you would like addressed at the meeting. On the agenda: March 10 Block Party, Hance Park Classic 100 event, Block Watch issues, review of December event and plans for other events/activities, and status of the Midtown MUSE newsletter.
Also, join Mayor Greg Stanton and Councilman Simplot for a morning coffee chat at Citizen Espresso Bar, 4700 N. Central Ave., on Thursday, January 10 at 7:30 a.m. MMDNA will discuss some of our accomplishments in 2012 and our goals for 2013.
[Source: Greg Stanton, Mayor of Phoenix, Arizona Republic, January 4, 2012] – To be a successful and competitive city, we cannot ignore our past accomplishments. We must value our past and build on it. This principle is true in business, government, and culture, especially preservation of our architectural heritage. Our architectural history is a necessary part of Phoenix’s future economic development, but our record is mixed, some successes and some disappointments. It is time for Phoenix to revisit and improve its policy on historic preservation.
Countless studies have demonstrated that historic preservation is an economic engine. It costs less to reuse old buildings than to construct new ones. A recent analysis that examined Phoenix and other cities also showed conclusively that reusing old buildings is in almost every case environmentally sounder than new construction. Preserving old buildings creates a sense of place that is key to attracting and keeping talented employees and creative businesses. On every level, historic preservation significantly benefits a community.
Phoenix recently dodged a historic preservation bullet. One of Frank Lloyd Wright’s most significant buildings – the David and Gladys Wright House – was threatened with demolition. For months, many volunteers worked to save the building.
These are the unsung heroes who labored behind the scenes to save the house: an anonymous donor to whom we all are grateful, Larry Woodin and Janet Halstead of the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy, Grady Gammage Jr., Will Bruder, Taz Loomans, Jim McPherson, Scott and Debbie Jarson, Alison King, Frank Henry, Roger Brevoort, Christina Noble, Colin Slais, Jennifer Boucek, Michelle Dodds of the Phoenix Office of Historic Preservation, Robert Joffe, and many others too numerous to list.
Preservation of the David Wright House is a victory for Phoenix, our state, and even globally. The effort has taught a sobering lesson: Phoenix’s approach to historic preservation, which has served us well for three decades, is not always adequate to accomplish our goals. We need to build on our past and improve our approach. Phoenix is maturing as a city, so we have an increasing number of historically significant buildings. Our current historic preservation tools sometimes are not up to the task.
It is time to begin a community conversation to reevaluate our priorities, policies, and procedures so we can be more effective in historic preservation and at the same time respect private property rights.
Phoenix has a proud history of building consensus through compromise. With thoughtful and respectful discussion, we can develop new policies that are right for Phoenix.
Beginning in the new year, I will assemble a team of skilled people to begin tackling this problem in an open process that will involve the entire community. With improved historic preservation policies, Phoenix’s best days are ahead.
[Source: Downtown Voices Coalition] – We emailed and chatted with a few “friends of downtown” to do a SWOT Analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) of downtown Phoenix in 2012. We asked, but didn’t insist, that the lists keep in mind our statement of purpose: “Downtown Voices Coalition is a coalition of stakeholder organizations that embrace growth in downtown Phoenix, but is mindful that healthy growth should be based upon existing downtown resources — the vibrancy of neighborhoods, the strength of the arts community, the uniqueness of historic properties, and the wonderful small businesses that dot downtown.”
Below are the lists – an even dozen each – that Brendan Mahoney (Mayor’s Office, City of Phoenix), Jim McPherson (Downtown Voices Coalition), Chelsea Smith (small business owner), and Sean Sweat (Central City Village Planning Committee) pulled together. What would you add? What would you delete? What would you modify? Can similar SWOTs be created for “the arts,” “sustainability,” and “midtown Phoenix,” for example? Let your (downtown) voice be heard!
- Central City South residents crafted their own Quality of Life Plan
- City of Phoenix stood its ground against a low-density, unfunded Goldwater Library & Archives
- “Downtown Phoenix” local history book published
- Maricopa County South Court Tower completed (replacing, of all things, a parking garage)
- METRO West Extension compromise reached, sparing the St. Matthew neighborhood
- Mix of housing options blossomed (e.g., Oasis on Grand live/work apartments opened, Lofts on McKinley senior apartments opened, and Roosevelt Point apartments broke ground and unbundled parking)
- Neighborhoods blocked Circle K expansion at 7th St. & Roosevelt
- Pedal Craft bicycle, art, and community event rode into town (twice!)
- Pop-up park on Roosevelt St. popped up, complete with murals, landscaping, and Peritoneum sculpture (note that Peritoneum sparked a conversation within City Hall that there should be a simple, one-size-fits-all process to activate vacant lots downtown. That process will be voted upon by City Council on January 16, 2013)
- Seed Spot incubator opened in historic Warehouse District
- Street and sidewalk improvements made on Centennial Way (Washington St. between 7th Ave. & State Capitol) and holiday lights returned to Central Avenue
- University expansions, including UA Health Sciences Education Building (completed), ASU Downtown Phoenix Campus Recreation Center (under construction), UA Cancer Center – Phoenix (under development), and ASU Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law (proposed)
- City of Phoenix Historic Preservation Officer, Barbara Stocklin, summarily dismissed
- First Street streetscape project (i.e., no bike lanes, car lanes are 14 feet wide, street parking is only 70% of what it could have been, trees shade cars not people, trees permanently lock the parking ratios on the west side of the road, and the corner radii are more than double what they should be. On the plus side, the existing ficus tree was spared from being chopped down.)
- Implementation of Downtown Phoenix, Inc. delayed
- Inconclusive planning for proposed Golub and Colliers developments
- Legends Entertainment District continues to be a made-up district neither legendary nor entertaining (including suburban billboards and Visit LA banner on CityScape)
- Madison & St. James hotels demolished
- Maricopa County nixed bicycle commuter support station in Security Building
- Phoenix City Council’s unanimous enthusiasm for downtown projects less likely because of budget issues and differing viewpoints
- Phoenix Urban Research Laboratory (PURL) shut down
- Still no downtown dog park
- Urban Grocery closed
- University expansions (above examples do not achieve ideal density, and the law school came at the price of the vintage Sahara Motel)
More detail is here.
RSVP to this free event by January 9, 2013 to 602-543-6440.
Here’s a great shot by Jim McPherson of one of the 10 monuments to the Bill of Rights, dedicated in December in the Wesley Bolin Plaza in Phoenix.
Downtown Voices Coalition is proud to have been an early supporter of this project, the first in the nation. Read more about this accomplishment (and see more photos) here.
The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at ASU is pleased to announce the opening of a new Downtown Phoenix campus program. The “A Taste of OLLI” grand launch will take place on Jan. 12 at the Cronkite Theatre in the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism Building. The OLLI program provides short courses and lectures for participants ages 50 + at a nominal cost. Courses will be held at the ASU Downtown Phoenix campus with most courses running four sessions.
All spring courses or lectures are taught by ASU professors, or emeritus professors in the fields of history, science, public health and current events. This will be a wonderful opportunity for residents of the Phoenix inner city area to be a part of the ASU community with courses designed specifically for them.
Among the course titles for the spring are: “History Detectives,” “Children and Adolescents within U.S. Culture and the Legal System,” and titles of some of the lectures are “The First 100 Years of Quantum Physics,” and “Crime, Violence and Public Health.”
The Spring Schedule will be available online in mid-December and available in print form after Jan. 1, 2013. Call Shirley Talley at 602 496-1191 or go here for more information or to register for classes.