Time once again for DVC’s monthly Steering Committee Meeting. Please join us on Saturday, December 13, starting at 9:30 a.m. at the Roosevelt Commons Clubhouse, 825 N. 6th Avenue. This is the group’s annual holiday mixer, so we’ll try to keep business “short and sweet.” And you’re welcome to bring a holiday treat for all to enjoy.
As Santa would want, take a peek at Saturday’s DVC agenda. Who’s been naughty and who’s been nice since we last met? New items are highlighted in red. The “other” bullet points allow for new/other/just-came-up items to be discussed under each section.
Welcome & Introductions
- Proposed 2014 Recap of Issues & Actions (Tim Eigo)
- Treasurer’s Report (Louisa Stark)
Today’s Guest Speaker
- Jonathan Koppell, Dean, ASU College of Public Programs; Lattie & Elva Coor Presidential Chair, ASU School of Public Affairs
- Jefferson Hotel/Barrister Place (Mark Davis)
- Containers on Grand (Kathleen Santin)
- City Observatory Report on High Poverty Neighborhoods
- Central Arizona Shelter Services Overflow (Capitol Mall)
- Airport Flight Pattern Changes (various downtown neighborhoods)
- State Fairgrounds (Fairview Place)
- Status of Ted DeGrazia Murals, 222 E. Roosevelt (Evans Churchill)
- Hance Park (Evans Churchill)
- City of Phoenix Ordinance Review re trees, trees, trees
- Transit Open Data Release
- PlanPHX “next steps”
Adjournment… to holiday mixer
We look forward to seeing you on Saturday! Thanks for all that you do for our community. Happy Holidays!
Chair, Steering Committee
Downtown Voices Coalition
More detail is here.
RSVP to this free event by January 9, 2013 to 602-543-6440.
The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at ASU is pleased to announce the opening of a new Downtown Phoenix campus program. The “A Taste of OLLI” grand launch will take place on Jan. 12 at the Cronkite Theatre in the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism Building. The OLLI program provides short courses and lectures for participants ages 50 + at a nominal cost. Courses will be held at the ASU Downtown Phoenix campus with most courses running four sessions.
All spring courses or lectures are taught by ASU professors, or emeritus professors in the fields of history, science, public health and current events. This will be a wonderful opportunity for residents of the Phoenix inner city area to be a part of the ASU community with courses designed specifically for them.
Among the course titles for the spring are: “History Detectives,” “Children and Adolescents within U.S. Culture and the Legal System,” and titles of some of the lectures are “The First 100 Years of Quantum Physics,” and “Crime, Violence and Public Health.”
The Spring Schedule will be available online in mid-December and available in print form after Jan. 1, 2013. Call Shirley Talley at 602 496-1191 or go here for more information or to register for classes.
Some students from Barrett, the Honors College at ASU’s Downtown Phoenix campus have produced a very lovely video in which students describe what downtown Phoenix is to them.
Way to go!
ASU Downtown is run by helicopter parents. They are friendly parents, but they are still helicopter parents. They are the cautious, closed-minded parents that refuse to encourage their children to play with the neighbor kids. They plug in the video game and think their children will be satisfied.
The “It’s Time” video released by ASU earlier this month highlights the university as rejuvenating downtown Phoenix, but the campus administration is doing very little to actually realize that. They are failing to intertwine the Downtown campus with the downtown community. Yes, there are 10,000 students that were not here four years ago, but beyond our bodily presence, we are doing very little for the neighborhood.
It’s time for a change in the mindset and direction of the Downtown administration.
College towns around the country are centered on partnerships between universities and local shops, eateries and entertainment. Downtown ASU has not built these partnerships — at all.
ASU signed a massive contract in 2008 with food provider Aramark that lasts until 2023. It ties the hands of students by forcing them to buy ridiculously priced meal plans. ASU created a food monopoly.
In turn, the administration says it is completely unfair to blame ASU’s policies for the closure of eateries like PastaBar and Verde, both within two blocks of campus. But what did the university do to support their businesses?
The university created an isolated campus. We are sheltered, and it’s time ASU puts resources and time into connecting students with the arts district on Roosevelt and the festivals and activities held on Grand Avenue. We can have all the events and celebrations we want in the shade garden of Taylor Place, but when are we actually going to take a step off of the curb and be a key part of downtown life?
Then again, increasing the cost of the U-Pass to $150 from $80 is the incentive we were looking for, right?
Plans are under way to turn the historic U.S. Federal Post Office building into Downtown’s version of the Memorial Union. One of the ideas brought to the table by an administrator is to make the building only accessible to ASU students. It would be a shame to close out the public to one of the only remaining historic buildings left in Phoenix. That’s not community engagement. We should cherish the uniqueness of our area.
The university is also currently planning out the construction of a downtown student recreational facility. I hope this facility is built in partnership with the YMCA. It baffles me why we would invest in a recreational facility when we already have a stellar setup at the YMCA. Both ASU and the YMCA benefit from each other’s presence.
And where was ASU in denouncing the parking lot built at the site of the old Ramada Inn? ASU allowed the city to build another parking lot that is destructive to the urban environment of our campus.
To counter the new block of hot asphalt, we proposed working with ASU and the city of Phoenix to construct a dog park where the McKinley parking lot is currently located. ASU was not willing to take the extra step in bettering our community. Excuses were made. It was easier to say no. The land has to be used for “educational purposes” because bond money was used to purchase the land. I’m glad that a parking lot meets the university’s standards of an educational purpose.
ASU recently sent a mailer to its alums. With a large picture of downtown in the background, bold white letters read: “With urban temperatures 11 degrees higher than in surrounding areas … how do we design cities that stay naturally cool?” It is a great question, ASU. Unless my knowledge of science is off, I don’t think parking lots are naturally cooling.
Are these advertisements reflecting reality? I am one of the most outspoken supporters of the great attributes of this campus, but there is so much more to be done.
Students need to take responsibility as well. While we bicker about elections and tuition or wave our pom-poms on Taylor Mall, we need to rise above and do our part.
The downtown community is intriguing. This fall, I hope the helicopter ASU administrators begin encouraging their kids to go out and play ball with the neighbors. They are waiting.
Vaughn Hillyard is a journalism sophomore at the Walter Cronkite School and the founder and president of ASU Downtown Alive!
Growing Connections: Roots to Branches
Arizona and its communities face challenging problems with diminishing resources. How do communities do more with less? Green Infrastructure is a solution multiplier that provides cost effective solutions to many economic, social and environmental problems. All Arizona communities and businesses have a role in cultivating a healthier, more livable and prosperous future.
Presentations and a Discussion on Cultivating Green Infrastructure
The Regional Tree & Shade Summit will bring together municipal and private sector professionals for a one-day meeting to address the growing importance of regional tree and shade plans and green infrastructure to the long-term sustainability and success of our communities.
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
8:30am – 5:00pm
A.E. England Building @ Civic Space Park
424 N. Central Ave, Downtown Phoenix
Adjacent to Downtown Phoenix Central Station. Light Rail Use Strongly Encouraged
Space is Limited: Register at http://sustainablecities.asu.edu
If you have any questions, please contact Anne Reichman at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 480-965-2168.
Civic Space Park one of five finalists for national urban excellence award
Civic Space Park in downtown Phoenix is one of five finalists for the Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence, a recognition given every other year for urban spaces that contribute to their community.
A team of three judges visited Phoenix this past week to evaluate the park and its impact on downtown Phoenix. At an interview luncheon Tuesday, members of the community gathered to present their case. Among those speaking were community volunteers, performers who use the park, members of arts groups, a police officer, and some of the men and women who collaborated to create Civic Space.
All attending spoke in favor of the park’s versatile spaces, safety record and, most importantly, tolerance of the area’s inhabitants, who include many homeless and mentally ill. The nearby Westward Ho building is a low-income housing center for the elderly and many residents frequent the park.
ASU’s liaison to the park, Malissa Geer, explained that diversity makes the park what it is.
The rich social fabric is a necessary “learning experience for students to learn that safety does not equal homogeneity,” she said. “To learn that safety is not just ‘these people look like me.’”
As a large presence in the downtown area, the university needs to “break the fear” that pervades the perception of the neighborhoods surrounding the Downtown campus, Geer said. Safety is often not the true issue. The homeless are rarely dangerous, but rather, make other citizens — including many students — simply uncomfortable, she said.
Cmdr. Richard Wilson, the police officer who spoke at the interview, said that many students and parents question the safety of the park, but in reality there is little danger.
“I had one parent say to me, ‘My daughter saw a homeless person. What are you going to do about it?’” he said. “The fact is, this is a benign population. If you ask them why they’re here, they say, ‘Because I feel safe.’”
Geer said it’s important to activate the park — to raise the number of people using the park on a daily basis. The park is one of just a few in Phoenix with a security presence, and not only can the park be a beautiful place to visit, but a necessary encounter with urban living, Geer said.
“We want our students to actually understand diversity,” she said. “How can we displace the homeless and train social workers at the same time?”
The award for urban excellence measures, among other things, the impact on the community. One way that impact is shown is through inclusion of all facets of the population.
Already the park has garnered a $10,000 prize for being a silver finalist, and if selected for the gold it will receive a total of $50,000.
Other finalists include The Bridge Homeless Assistance Center in Dallas, Brooklyn Bridge Park in Brooklyn, the Gary Comer Youth Center in Chicago and the Santa Fe Railyard Redevelopment. Civic Space is the only project this year that is technically a city park.
The 2009 winner was Inner-City Arts of Los Angeles, an organization that services youth in the city’s Skid Row area by providing art instruction and education.
Contact the reporter at email@example.com
Save Phoenix’s gems with your business — before it’s too late
It was an easy decision. I wanted to go somewhere nice on my first day back in Phoenix, and Pasta Bar was the destination.
It’s one of those hot spots that every city has — the one with great food, maybe a little expensive, but is a must-try for anyone wanting to be considered a real local.
On the list of great Phoenix restaurants, Pasta Bar was way up there. It was a starter on the All-Star team, the kind of place you tell out-of-towners about so they’re impressed with your city. The quality of food was top notch — some of the best in downtown Phoenix — and the atmosphere was great.
Too bad it was never busy.
Which explains why the doors were locked and the lights were off when I got there. The sign outside said it was open 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Sundays, and it was only about 8 p.m.
The next day I heard from a friend that it was closed for good.
Thus began the stages of grief, starting with denial. There was no way Pasta Bar could have closed. It had a great location, close to the Downtown campus — less than a five-minute walk — and the food was delicious. It didn’t make sense.
After denial came the anger and guilt. Why had we, the Downtown campus, let Pasta Bar down? Everyone talks about how much they hate the dining hall and how Aramark’s convenience store prices are ridiculous, but no one wants to put in the effort of finding alternatives. This is why we can’t have nice things!
And it happened barely a month after Verde, a little north up First Street, closed just seven months after opening. That’s two places within leisurely walking distance of the campus. Both were the kind of restaurants that focused on the quality of their food more than anything else, but struggled to bring in the necessary clientele. Are we ignoring Phoenix’s best food for the expediency of the dining hall, the convenience store and the nearby Subway restaurants?
There are other stages of grief, but after a talk with urbanism expert Yuri Artibise I skipped to acceptance. Artibise reminded me of the sad truth that restaurants fail all the time. For a restaurant to close after two years — Pasta Bar was nearing its second birthday — is not surprising in a bad economy.
In fact, Artibise said, we probably have too many restaurants downtown for our relatively low population. And with the influx of 12 new restaurants in CityScape that have opened or are going to open this year, something had to give.
“There’s a big push for entertainment and a big push for restaurants,” Artibise said, “but you just can’t have dozens of restaurants downtown without all that many people. And then with CityScape opening up … you know, it’s tough.”
Plus, Pasta Bar was expensive. Only two entrees were less than $14 and even the appetizers cost as much as $12. When college students make up a large percentage of a restaurant’s business, things need to be affordable.
So it wasn’t all our fault. Pasta Bar was too expensive to be a regular stop for ASU students and too far from the sports arenas to benefit from game days.
But that doesn’t mean there’s nothing we can do in the future. Maybe we do have too many restaurants, but we can never have too many good ones.
“What students can do,” Artibise said, “is save your job money, and don’t be restricted by where your meal card gets you.”
Even if Pasta Bar’s closing wasn’t our fault, there’s more we can do in the future. ASU students make up a significant portion of the downtown population, so if we enthusiastically endorse a business, it stays. But it does take enthusiasm. The choices ASU students make will be integral in defining downtown Phoenix as an up-and-coming area rather than one that struggles through the recession. If the city of Phoenix can invest hundreds of millions of dollars in this campus, we can invest $15 in a great bowl of pasta, at least every once in a while. On date night or when your parents come to town, take advantage of Phoenix’s unique restaurants.
So here’s the silver lining to the cloud of Pasta Bar’s closing. Because of Pasta Bar’s great location, we had two other delicious options nearby after finding it locked up: Sens Asian Tapas and Turf Irish Pub. There are other great restaurants that we can support. The city of Phoenix needs ASU to help keep its best businesses afloat.
Be an advocate. You don’t have to spend all that much, but when you do leave the dining hall, make sure the businesses you endorse are important to your community. When it comes to good food downtown, use it or lose it.
Contact the reporter at firstname.lastname@example.org
Residence on the Rail
Every student needs a place to live — and come spring, it’s on everyone’s mind. Incoming freshman shop around with anxious parents for the perfectly cool apartment complex, while commuter students finally decide to make the move out of Mom and Dad’s. Others tire of the on-campus experience after a year or two of shared living with roommates, suitemates, hallmates and floormates. Eventually, privacy and freedom beckon in the form of (often cheaper) off-campus apartments.
For most students, living near the Metro Light Rail has serious appeal. Driving to and parking on campus gets expensive, and many students commute between multiple campuses. Light rail-adjacent apartments market themselves as such, drawing more and more residents with each dollar rise on the gas pump.
But not every place suits every student. Some are for the quiet and studious, while others are designed for the social, college experience. Here’s a look at the culture of some popular apartments on the rail near the ASU Tempe and Downtown campuses.
Alta Phoenix Lofts
Phone number: 602-374-7133
Light rail stop: Van Buren Street and Central Avenue
Amenities: fitness center, cyber cafe, clubhouse with billiard and poker tables, pool, art gallery, local business on property, acupuncturist, tattoo parlor, personal trainer
Price range: $960 – $3,500
Sitting catty-corner from the College of Nursing and Health Innovation building, Alta Phoenix Lofts boasts an urban style. Residents find themselves walking through halls with exposed copper pipes and duct work. Property manager Chiara Elie says the light rail is another way to give residents an urban experience.
“We go for the whole downtown vibe, participating in First Fridays and reminding residents the light rail is nearby,” she says, sitting in her pool-facing office.
Elie says not many students live at the Lofts because they are higher-priced than other apartment complexes in the area. She says she tries to hold at least two or three events per month so residents get what they pay for. She says the active student would appreciate living at the Lofts.
Modern decor inside the Alta Phoenix Lofts. Photo by Vivian Padilla.
“Our biggest appeal to students is we’re very close to the Downtown campus,” she says. “But we also have so much to offer in terms of amenities and activities.”
Nursing senior Barbie Frazier says she chose to live at Alta Phoenix Lofts after looking at The Met and Roosevelt Square. She says Alta won her over because she thought it was the best deal for what she paid for.
“The lofts were bigger than the other places I looked at and it has this really big balcony with a pretty view, which The Met and Roosevelt Square didn’t have,” Frazier says. “The balcony just makes it so much more open and I like having my own space outside.”
Frazier says one of the frustrating things about living at the Lofts is wasted space in the apartment, which makes cleaning difficult. She says she had to buy a stepstool to reach a lot of her cabinets and storage space.
Frazier says she thinks ASU students who are studious, but also social, would enjoy living at the Lofts.
“People here are pretty nice so I don’t think anyone would call the cops on you for having a party,” she says. “As a nursing student though, I have to be studious and I never hear anyone so it’s easy to study.”
Phone number: 602-258-6387
Light rail stop: Van Buren Street and Central Avenue
Amenities: pool, hot tub, fitness center, 800+ DVDs for free rental, Wi-Fi throughout the property
Pet friendly: Cats and caged animals only
Price range: $779 – $1,264
Rising only three stories high, The Met apartment complex is one people might miss, especially as it’s surrounded by buildings with 10-plus stories. The city has grown around it; journalism sophomore Liam Hausmann says he enjoys living there because it’s so close to the Downtown campus where he takes classes.
“I don’t live as close to the light rail as some other places, but it’s worth it to me to be able to walk back and forth to campus four times a day without it being a hassle,” Hausmann says.
The Met is often overlooked because of its smaller size. Photo by Diana Martinez.
Hausmann rents a two-bedroom two-bath with his roommate and says he gets the most use out of the Jacuzzi. However, he says he has a rocky relationship with management, though it doesn’t affect his enjoyment of his living experience.
“I got a message from [management] complaining to me about people parking in The Met guest parking spots and then leaving,” he says. “They blamed me and my roommate and my roommate had to go the office and basically say it’s not our job to watch the parking lot, regardless if the people doing it are people we know or not.”
Hausmann says while the facilities are very nice, management tends to treat students as if they aren’t full and responsible adults.
“If you take management not appreciating students out of the picture, the location, the amenities and stuff is all awesome,” he says. “It’s not really a hustle and bustle place, it’s really mellow and I think it’s good for students who work on campus.”
Assistant manager of The Met Kathy Kimminau says they don’t treat students any different than other residents but admits they do give them more noise complaints notifications if other residents are voicing complaints.
“The studious student would prefer to live here because we are strict about noise complaints,” she says. “We still want people to have fun and have people over and party, just not late at night. We’ve never evicted someone for too many noise complaints but we would if we had too.”
Kimminau says she thinks students would want to live at The Met because of the proximity to campus, as well as the availability of Wi-Fi.
“We’re also located right next to a lot of places to eat and entertainment, like the movie theater,” she says.
Roosevelt Square offers students and residents refined living within walking distance to the downtown campus and light rail station. Photo by Jessica Heigh.
Phone number: 602-258-7678
Light rail stop: Roosevelt Street and Central Avenue
Amenities: 24-hour gym, pool, on the bus line, dog-walking area, 24-hour sky terrace, local businesses on property, four restaurants, dry cleaner
Pet friendly: Yes, except for larger, aggressive breeds of dog
Price range: $563 – $1,500
Three separate buildings make up Roosevelt Square, its own small community where assistant manager Wes Carmichael says many residents have referred each other.
“We have a mixture of young professionals and students,” he says. “A lot of students move here after their first year or two on campus because it’s cheaper to live here than on campus.”
One of the three apartment complexes that make up Roosevelt Square. Photo by Jessica Heigh.
He says some reasons students might enjoy living at Roosevelt Square is the proximity to First Fridays, a monthly art walk, as well as plenty of local shops and eateries to walk to. He says they are also extremely pet friendly.
“We have almost as many pets as residents I think,” he says.
Sustainability and journalism senior Lexie Runge lives at Roosevelt Square with her dog Maverick and says she loves living so close to the light rail.
“I almost never drive anymore because I can walk to my journalism classes on the Downtown campus and take the light rail to my other ones on the Tempe campus,” she says.
Runge says she feels the complex is for students who are respectful but like the urban life.
“Most residents here really do respect each other,” she says. “It’s a lot of young people and young couples and everyone has this understanding that this isn’t for cranky older people and there’s no underclassmen who want to party constantly. I think it’s a place for people who have their priorities straight.”
Carmichael says if students are looking to rent in the fall, they should begin the process about 75 days in advance. He says the Phoenix Mercury are already inquiring about renting apartments there again. Last year the team leased 14 units, he says.
Reach the reporter at email@example.com
See the original article for residences along the rail in Tempe.