Daily Archives: June 24, 2009

Phoenix city manager Frank Fairbanks to retire this fall

[Source: Scott Wong, Arizona Republic] — Frank Fairbanks, Phoenix’s longest-serving city manager who steered the city through two decades of extraordinary growth and three economic recessions, will retire this fall. In private phone calls this morning, Fairbanks told Mayor Phil Gordon and other City Council members that he will step down as the city’s top non-elected official on Nov. 5. The council will conduct a national search for his replacement, though several of Fairbanks’ deputies are expected to put their names forward.

Fairbanks, who is 62 and has been eligible to retire for the past decade, said he is leaving the city with a balanced budget and strong management team in place. “This has to happen sooner or later. I will not live forever and I will not work here forever,” the Phoenix native and third-generation city employee told the Republic. “I just think the timing is good. The reason to announce now is to give them (the council) time to select somebody.” [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

23 Phoenix businesses to use new currency: ‘Phoenix Bux’

[Source: Tim Vetscher, ABC News 15] — In light of the economic downturn, a number of communities across the country have started printing their own money.  It’s called scrip, or local currency, and now the idea is coming to Arizona for the very first time.  It’s called Phoenix Bux and it launches July 4th.  “It’s all about supporting the local businesses, if we shop locally, it keeps the money local,” said Joey Grether, who came up with the idea for Phoenix Bux.

It’s based off the concept of local currency, essentially a way for a community to exchange services and locally produced goods.  Detroit, Ithaca, and the Berkshire region of Massachusetts all currently use a form of local currency.  “It just keeps the money in the community rather than shopping at a corporate chain where your money will be siphoned off to a headquarter in some other city or potentially another country,” said Grether.

Starting on the 4th of July, 1,600 of the coins will go into circulation around the Phoenix area.  The tokens can be used for a dollar off at participating businesses.  “You don’t have to participate if you don’t want to but if you do you can just ask for your change in Phoenix Bux and you can use those tokens at other participating businesses in the Valley,” said Grether.

So far, 23 businesses have signed up to accept Phoenix Bux including Conspire, Carly’s Bistro, The Lost Leaf Bar and Gallery, and Hood Ride Bicycle Shop.  “A lot of us downtown already think locally, it’s a great way to introduce the concept to outsiders,” said Derrick Pacheco, owner of Hood Ride.

If the concept catches on, Phoenix Bux may just one day do away with the dollar.  “We’re taking a baby step,” said Grether.  “Is Phoenix able to handle local currency?  We think it is.”  [Note: To read the full article and online comments, click here.]

What would you add to a map of central Phoenix vitality?

Here’s an unofficial list of revitalization initiatives in downtown Phoenix, created by a member of Downtown Voices Coalition, including color-coded status report (as critiqued by the map’s author).  Many are (or could be) “fine-grain” projects that make a city a community.

  • BLUE: Successful (Maintain!)
  • GREEN: In Progress
  • YELLOW: On Hold; Caution
  • MAGENTA: On Life Support
  • RED: Failed

Click on an individual colored-pin for some “color commentary” and background.

Other important initiatives impacting downtown Phoenix and environs are larger in geographic scope (and thus harder to pinpoint on this map): Adaptive Reuse Task Force; Arts, Culture and Small Business Overlay; Canalscape; Connected Oasis; Discovery Triangle; Grand Avenue; Opportunity Corridor; Roosevelt Row; Shade/Tree Planting Efforts; Urban Form Project.

Any and all additions, edits, suggestions, or offers of mapping expertise are more than welcome.