[Source: Jahna Berry, Arizona Republic] — Arizona State University’s and University of Arizona’s downtown Phoenix campuses are a crucial part of the city’s future, Mayor Phil Gordon said on Tuesday. Gordon delivered his annual State of Downtown address before a crowd of residents and local movers-and-shakers at Civic Space Park, 424 N. Central Ave.
The mayor didn’t mention it by name, but after the speech Gordon said that his words were also aimed at the state Legislature, which has delayed a key vote that would allow a $164 million education facility on the city’s biomedical campus to move forward. “Let me end with a heartfelt and passionate plea for everyone who cares about this community, this state and our shared future — to keep investing in education,” Gordon told the park crowd.
The sixth annual address comes as the region slogs through a brutal recession that has halted or delayed several downtown projects, pushed many property owners into foreclosure and siphoned jobs. But on Tuesday, Gordon was optimistic about the heart of the city, which he has made a central issue during his tenure as mayor. Phoenix’s investment in ASU’s downtown campus, which opened in fall 2006, continues to pay off, Gordon said. The university has created 2,500 jobs the mayor said. More than 7,000 students are taking at least one class downtown, up 42 percent compared with last year.
The political gathering had the air of a city festival. Local eateries handed out food samples and bands played. About 1,200 people visited the park during the event, said Lt. Jeff Lazell of the Phoenix Police Department. [Note: Read the full article at Mayor’s talk urges more investment for schools, downtown Phoenix. For ABC 15 news video of the event, click here. Video above provided by The Downtown Devil.]