[Source: National Post, Ontario, Canada] — Has Arnold Schwarzenegger heard of this? Arizona’s financial condition is so desperate the state is considering selling off its legislative structures, including its Senate and House buildings, for US$735 million.
The Arizona Republic reports: “Dozens of other state properties also may be sold as the state government faces its worst financial crisis in a generation, if not ever. The plan isn’t to liquidate state assets, though. Instead, officials hope to sell the properties and then lease them back over several years before assuming ownership again. The complex financial transaction would allow government services to continue without interruption while giving the state a fast infusion of as much as $735 million, according to Capitol projections.”
Arizona is looking at a budget deficit of about $3.4 billion, in a state with a population of 6.5 million.
The financial crisis doesn’t reflect well on the Republicans, who have dominated both houses of government for 15 years. The selloff reportedly could include the House and Senate buildings, the Phoenix and Tucson headquarters of the Arizona Department of Public Safety, the State Hospital and the state fairgrounds, and some prison facilities. But the copper-domed Capitol building, built in 1901, is apparently excluded. [Note: Read the full article at Arizona so broke it may sell off its House, Senate]
[Source: Mike Sunnucks, Phoenix Business Journal] — The state could sell off the Arizona State Fairgrounds and other assets and take on more debt instead of raising taxes to help solve a $3 billion budget deficit. Arizona Rep. John Kavanagh, R-Fountain Hills, said Thursday the Arizona House of Representatives was working on an alternative to the budget plan proposed by Gov. Jan Brewer in an effort to shore up the deficit. Brewer wants a statewide referendum asking voters to raise sales taxes by 1 cent. Arizona currently has 5.6 percent state sales tax.
Kavanagh said the House budget plan would not have tax increases but instead could raise state debt limits and would look to sell off some assets. That could include the state fairgrounds at Grand and 19th avenues and McDowell Road in west Phoenix. He said the city of Phoenix has some land along Buckeye Road that could accommodate a new fairgrounds. The state also could sell off an airport near the Grand Canyon and privatize more state prisons and corrections facilities. The state needs to raise more revenue in order to avoid drastic cuts to a slew of programs and services, including universities and K-12 schools. [Note: To read the full article, click here.]
Phoenix City Council Member Michael Nowakowski invites residents to meet with him to discuss neighborhood crime prevention and parking as District 7 prepares to host the Arizona State Fair, which opens on Friday, October 10. The meeting will start at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 8, at Encanto Club House, 2605 N. 15th Ave. Representatives from the Phoenix Police Department will attend to answer questions. For more information, call 602-262-7492.
With the demise of Patriots Square Park in downtown Phoenix and the limited amount of acreage at the now-under-construction Downtown Civic Space, where will the grand public gatherings be held in or around downtown Phoenix?
As a reference point from another Western U.S. city, Portland, OR’s Waterfront Park hosted a May 18, 2008 primary rally for Presidential candidate Barack Obama. The local fire department estimated 75,000 people in attendance, while the Washington Post, in their coverage of this event, considered the record crowd to be the size of a city.
A proposal by the local chapters of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), pictured at left, “envisions a more formalized public space in downtown Phoenix which expands the proposed boundaries of the space into the streets, and invites casual public interaction with retail shops, food and beverage options, and shaded seating areas separated and protected by street bollards.”
In an interview with Arizona Republic reporter, Connie Cone Sexton, Phoenix City Councilman, Michael Nowakowski, highlighted several areas of concern expressed to him from residents living in and around downtown Phoenix. Those top issues are summarized below:
Historic Neighborhoods and Downtown
- Increase and improve streetscapes
- Ability to walk down streets without being run down
- Reduce crime
- Investigate interest/feasibility of moving the state fairgrounds
- Create a sort of Biltmore area by extending the Encanto Golf Course to blend into the neighborhood
- Beautify and enliven the banks along the Salt River
- Establish a retail and entertainment district (ala San Antonio’s Riverwalk)