Monthly Archives: December 2008

Will metro Phoenix small businesses use light rail?

nullThe O’Neil Associations/ASBA Economic Indicators Monitor asked 3,000 Arizona small businesses whether they would be likely to ride Metro Light Rail when it becomes available.  A majority (57%) indicated that they are either very unlikely (41%) or somewhat unlikely (16%) to use it.   The potential usership among this group, however, is considerable.  Fully 35% said they are at least somewhat likely to use it.  This includes 13% who are very likely to use it and 22% who are somewhat likely to use it.

The poll’s director, Dr. Michael O’Neil commented, “Obviously, the potential usership of the system is constrained by its currently limited geography.  A perhaps more significant obstacle however, is a psychological one: Phoenix has always been an automobile-centric community and convincing people to use light rail involves crossing a psychic barrier.  How, and under what circumstances, users will respond to the actual availability of light rail remains to be seen, and will of course depend on the totality of riders’ experiences.  In addition, the accessibility and availability of parking spaces near the point of origin and appropriate transportation or proximity at users’ destinations will be important factors.  It will be interesting to track the changes in these figures once light rail actually becomes available later this year.”

Phoenix’s Midtown Museum District gearing up for Dec. 27 light rail event

[Source: Margaret Dietrich and Julia Tourville] — The Midtown Museum District Neighborhood Association’s Grand Stuffing Party on December 13 was a tremendous success and we’d like to thank everyone for their incredible hard work throughout the day. We’d also like to thank all the businesses that took part, and the team at Doxa LLC for allowing us to use their building for the day. It took over 270 “person” hours to fill 10,000 bags with over 160,000 pieces of information about the Midtown Museum Neighborhood. The bags will be distributed at the Metro Light Rail Party on December 27, 2008.

The MMDNA has a booth at the Light Rail station at Central Avenue and Encanto and is partnering with others at the party at Park Central. The MMDNA booth will look resplendent with the fantastic banner generously provided by Fast Signs on Central. Please drop by to admire it. We still need volunteers for the booths at the Light Rail Party on December 27. Please email info@midtownmuseumdistrict.org or call Margaret on 602-758-3129.

The Heard Museum Guild has invited MMDNA members to a Cheese and Wine evening at the Heard Museum on January 13, 2009 from 6 to 8 p.m. The event will be in the Berlin Gallery and will be limited to 50 people on a first come first served basis. RSVPs are essential. Please contact Beth Wickenden on 602-296-4263 to reserve your place.

Merry Christmas, Feliz Navidad Phoenix

Grinch economy wrecking havoc with Phoenix city budget

[Source: Scott Wong, Arizona Republic] — Phoenix leaders received an unwelcome gift just before Christmas: Word that the city’s budget shortfall could be as much as $20 million worse than previously expected.  And with tax-collection figures for the bleak holiday shopping season still unknown, the record budget gap could grow even wider than this week’s $260 million to $270 million projection.

In September, Phoenix officials had pegged the estimated deficit at $250 million, or about 20% of Phoenix’s $1.2 billion general fund, which pays for police, parks and other basic services.  “Clearly since September, the economy has continued to deteriorate,” said Deputy City Manager Ed Zuercher, who oversees the budget department.  City sales-tax revenue from January through October was about $330 million, $20 million less than was collected during the same period in 2007.  [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

One of the most important structures in Phoenix…

frontsundramaWhy does Desert Living Magazine call this building “one of the most important structures in Phoenix?”  Click here to find out.

Arizonans encouraged to participate in Inauguration 2009 Sermons and Orations Project

[Source: American Folklife Center, Library of Congress] — On January 20, 2009, the United States will inaugurate Barack Obama, the country’s first African American president.  In anticipation of citizens’ efforts to mark this historic time around the country, the American Folklife Center will be collecting audio and video recordings of sermons and orations that comment on the significance of the inauguration of 2009.  It is expected that such sermons and orations will be delivered at churches, synagogues, mosques, and other places of worship, as well as before humanist congregations and other secular gatherings.  The American Folklife Center is seeking as wide a representation of orations as possible.

Individuals and groups interested in contributing to the Inauguration 2009 Sermons and Orations Project are asked to submit audio and video recordings made in digital or other approved formats.  To be accepted into the collection, the recordings must be of sermons and orations that were delivered to congregations and other audiences between Friday, January 16 and Sunday, January 25, 2009.

In addition to audio and video recordings, the American Folklife Center is collecting written texts of sermons and orations (submitted in the form of print or electronic media), as well as printed programs from the events during which the sermons and orations were delivered.  All submissions must be postmarked by February 27, 2009, and must be accompanied by signed release forms and a completed information form, found on this website.  For additional information about the Inauguration 2009 Sermons and Orations Project, call the American Folklife Center at 202-707-5510 between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday to Friday, Eastern Standard Time.

Melrose on 7th merchants planning March 7 street fair

[Source: Seventh Avenue Merchants Association] — The Seventh Avenue Merchants Association is now accepting vendor applications for the 8th annual Melrose on 7th Street Fair, March 7, 2009 (11 a.m. to 5 p.m.). 

Come and indulge in a unique and distinctive shopping experience highlighting local craftsmen and artists, eclectic food, children’s activities, a collectible car show, street performers, and live music.  The fair will take place on 7th Avenue between Indian School and Campbell.  For more information, visit the M7 Street Fair website, send an e-mail, or call 602-926-2758.

Police forces gird for opening of metro Phoenix light rail

[Source: Lisa Halverstadt, Arizona Republic] — Anyone who plans to ride the light rail for the first time Saturday will be hard-pressed to avoid police officers, security guards, and volunteers, no matter which stops they visit.  For months, the Phoenix, Tempe, and Mesa police departments have been working with Metro light rail to plan for at least 150,000 people and the security concerns that inevitably follow.

Police say they expect the light-rail kickoff to be a fun day with few problems but just in case something does happen, they must expect the worst.  They’ve spent months planning for it.  So before the event ever begins, bomb dogs will sniff around the light-rail cars and planned party locations.  Teams from the Transportation Security Administration, some of them armed, will arrive to assist officials in Phoenix.  Arizona’s Department of Liquor License and Control will prepare to be on the prowl.  Police in Mesa, Phoenix, and Tempe will be prepared to communicate with one another throughout the entire event.  An estimated 700 to 800 volunteers will ready themselves to spend hours answering questions about the light-rail system.  [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

Viewpoint: Will the Phoenix Coyotes become extinct?

[Source: Total Pro Sports, December 8, 2008] — With the economy headed for the second great depression, it seems only fitting that teams in the big four sports leagues (NBA, NHL, NFL, MLB) start filing for bankruptcy and suspend operations.  The NBA is already feeling this with arenas that are empty and ticket sales declining on a game to game basis.  Just take a look at the Memphis Grizzlies, Atlanta Hawks, and Sacramento Kings attendance decline.  The Phoenix Coyotes of the NHL are one of the teams headed for extinction, this year they are expected to lose anywhere from $25 to $35 million.  After seeing a slight increase in ticket sales in the beginning of the season the Coyotes have cooled down and ticket sales have dropped severely.

Two sources said [owner Jerry] Moyes is so eager to unload the Coyotes that he approached his former partner, Steve Ellman, about buying the team back wrote the Globe And Mail.  The Coyotes management has a different outlook on the economy and the future of the team.  “I am confident not only that hockey will be here in five years, but that we will be doing well in five years,” Coyotes governor and chief executive officer Jeff Shumway said, pointing to improved ticket and suite sales and fewer giveaways.  “We run a great franchise in a great sport, a sport we love.  And we’re in one of the fastest-growing markets in the U.S.”

Since 2001 the Phoenix Coyotes have lost more the $200 milliion, that’s $80 million more then the team was orginally purchased for.  What we still don’t understand is that day when the NHL commissioner decided to move the Winnipeg Jets to the Phoenix, Arizona area.  A city of Winnipeg that loves snow and ice to a city that averages 100+ degree weather.  Make sense?  Yes, the Jets were struggling in Winnipeg but we highly doubt they would be in such a financial crisis that the Coyotes are right now.

The problem with the Coyotes is that they play almost 25 minutes out of downtown Phoenix in Glendale, Arizona.  When you’re bringing a team into a new market, it’s best to situate the team in the downtown core.  Where big business can buy suites and season tickets for the business.  This would not end the financial crisis of the Coyotes, but it would eliminate some of the financial stress they are enduring right now.  The big-money guys, the corporate guys, don’t live in Glendale,” Paul Kelly (NHLPA Executive Director) said.  “If you live in Scottsdale, Glendale is not an easy place to get to.  That hurts them in the area like club seats and boxes.  You could see evidence of that the other night [at a Coyotes game].”

Reports now out of Phoenix is that they are seeking a loan from Citibank, but with all the banks problems in the United States it’s highly unlikely they will get approved.  So if anyone is interested Total Pro Sports is looking at putting together a group of investors to buy the Phoenix Coyotes.  We can probably buy them undervalued at about $85 million.  If anyone is interested please contact us…just kidding.  [Note: Updates: ESPN (12/23/08) and Globe and Mail (12/23/08).]

Share your opinion online about Arizona’s transportation needs

[Source: Arizona Department of Transportation] — Your input is needed to help shape Arizona into a more desirable home for future generations.  The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) is making progress on a Statewide Transportation Planning Study developing a long range vision for future transportation needs in Arizona.  “Building a Quality Arizona” (bqAZ) focuses on needs in the year 2050 and is a statewide collaborative process to identify the full range of options to address future needs.

ADOT has made it easy to participate in the Statewide Transportation Planning Study.  By visiting the bqAZ website between now and January 31, 2009, you can review all the information presented at the most recent community workshops and provide your input.

Online participation is available for each of the four Regional Studies: Northern, Western, Eastern, and Central.  You can choose which Regional Study you would like to participate in depending on where you live, work, play, or wherever you would like to provide input.