Daily Archives: March 10, 2009

Oops! Ill-fitting fabric delays downtown Phoenix artwork

[Source: Connie Cone Sexton, Arizona Republic] — Installation of netting for the public-art sculpture in the downtown Phoenix Civic Space hit a snag Tuesday when crews realized the fabric wouldn’t fit perfectly onto the existing steel rings.  By afternoon, City of Phoenix officials decided to send the netting back to the manufacturer in Washington state for modifications.  Installation is expected to be delayed one to two weeks but will not add to the cost of the $2.4 million project, said Ed Lebow, a public art program manager for Phoenix.  “It was a simple mistake in interpreting the plans,” he said.

The sculpture, “Her Secret is Patience,” by Boston-area artist Janet Echelman, is part of a Phoenix park site under construction at Taylor Street and Central Avenue.  The design of the art is to evoke a cactus flower.  [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

Downtown Phoenix businesses lobby for new light rail stops

[Source: Jahna Berry, Arizona Republic, March 3, 2009] — When light-rail construction scared off scores of shoppers, many struggling downtown merchants considered the $1.4 billion line more of a curse than a blessing.  Light rail began running in December, and what a difference a few months has made.  Last week, several downtown business owners lobbied a transit agency to make sure that their shops would sit near a future light-rail route.  Metro appeared before an influential downtown business group to talk about plans for a light-rail span that would link West Phoenix, the state Capitol, and downtown in 2019.

Metro is weighing several possible routes on the west end of downtown Phoenix.  One option would put tracks on Jackson Street.  Another alternative would use Washington and Jefferson streets, Metro officials told the Downtown Phoenix Partnership.

  • Dale Jensen and David Wallach, two of the businessmen behind the proposed Jackson Street Entertainment District pushed for the Jackson Street option.  The city wants an entertainment district, and a Jackson Street light-rail route makes sense, Wallach said.
  • Bill Smith, who owns four downtown restaurants, including Stoudemire’s Downtown, argued for the Washington-Jefferson option.  All of his downtown restaurants sit near the Washington-Jefferson corridor.  “I have to disagree with my brother, Dale Jensen,” Smith said.

The banter was playful, but the stakes are high.  Metro recently announced that initial daily light-rail ridership was nearly 20 percent higher than expected.  About 30,000 boardings — one-way trips — are made each day.  If a business is located near the future light-rail line, those trains could bring thousands of potential customers.  [Note: To read the full article, click here.]