Blog Archives

Tonight’s First Friday Event @ Downtown Phoenix’s Civic Space Park POSTPONED

[Source: Civic Space Park]

Due to weather mitigations and a freeze warning, the First Friday event tonight has been postponed until Sunday, February 13th. Artlink will still be having their opening reception in the AE England Artlink Gallery.

We hope that you will all still be available for the new date as we believe the event will still be a great success! If not, we understand and apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused. We will have the updated flyers/times to you ASAP. In the mean time, please help us spread the word about the date change.

Feel free to contact Chrisal or Michelle with any questions. Thank you so much and stay warm out there!

Postponed until Sunday, February 13th, 2011

 

Best Regards,
Chrisal & Michelle

Chrisal Valencia
Community Events Coordinator
Civic Space Park Collaboration
O (602) 496-1268
C (602) 574-4057
Chrisal.valencia@asu.edu
http://www.facebook.com/civicspace

Michelle Ponce
Events Coordinator/Volunteer
C (602) 281-0697
tacubando@yahoo.com

Community Cinema at Civic Space Park in downtown Phoenix on October 9th!

Downtown Phoenix’s Civic Space Park is re-launching Community Cinema on the second Saturdays of every month!

On October 9th, the Civic Space Park will be collaborating with the local organizations to present Community Cinema. The park, at Central and Van Buren, will hold a free screening of the new film Reel Injun: On the Trail of the Hollywood Indian at 5:30 p.m. This premiere will mark the re-launch of Community Cinema in the park, taking place every Second Saturday of the month.

Following the film, viewers are invited to a Coffee Talk inside Fair Trade Café to discuss topics and ideas explored in the movie. On the Fair Trade patio, music will be provided by Ethan 103. With all band members reigning from Native backgrounds, this musical group breaks the traditional mold by providing a modern punk rock sound.

Details

Who: Civic Space Park Collaboration

Where: Civic Space Park – 424 N. Central Ave. Phoenix, AZ 85004

When: Saturday, October 9, 2010 5:30p.m.-7:30p.m.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Touring downtown Phoenix… by bike

Visiting the murals in the alley behind 5th St. near Roosevelt (photo source: Tony Arranaga)

[Source: LightRailBlogger.com] — I took my neighbors on a hour long bike tour of downtown Phoenix.  Mike and Jane were not too familiar with the backstory to some of the historic sights in our urban core, so it was fun to give them some background on the landmarks in the heart of the city.

We started in the Evans Churchill neighborhood near 4th Street and Fillmore.  We visited the community garden near Conspire Coffee and the murals in the alley behind 5th Street near Roosevelt in the arts district.  Mike, Jane and I then went to the Phoenix Public Market, the Westward Ho and Civic Space Park.  Our tour then continued south on 1st Avenue to see the Orpheum Lofts, 44 Monroe and the old City Hall.

Next. we made our way over to Hanny’s Restaurant, which used to be home to a high end department store back in the day.  We then stopped by St. Mary’s Basilica where Pope John Paul II visited several years ago.  Our trip ended at Heritage Square and then we stoppped for a bite to eat at Front Row – TGIFriday’s restaurant inside Chase Field where the Arizona Diamondbacks play ball.

How did I do?  Where would you take friends or out of town guests to explore the heart of Phoenix?  [Note: Read the full blog entry at Touring downtown Phoenix… by bike.]

North, south improvements set for downtown Phoenix Civic Space Park

Civic Space Park looking north towards historic U.S. Post Office

[Source: Salvador Rodriguez, ASU Downtown Devil] — The city of Phoenix will break ground to expand the Civic Space north toward the U.S. Post Office in late April and will begin to renovate Central Station this summer, the project managers said Tuesday.  Tom Byrne, Civic Space expansion project manager, said the construction will add more trees and green space and will grow the park by nearly a half-acre.

Byrne also said the expansion will give the Civic Space another shade structure and area adjacent with the Federal Post Office’s truck dock that could potentially be used as a second stage.   Byrne said expansion should be complete sometime next fall and said the construction will be of “little impact to anybody using the building and/or the site.”

The city of Phoenix will use stimulus money to make Central Station more sustainable and convenient for passengers, said Mark Melnychenko, principal planner and project manager.   “That’s really the key, especially in our environment, to make (Central Station) a pleasant passenger area,” he said.

Melnychenko said the city will renovate the building at Central Station, use LED fixtures, add shade structures similar to the ones used for light rail stations, and will add a photovoltaic system to the building’s roof to power some of the station with solar energy. Melnychenko said the city chose to renovate Central Station but cause it is key to their public transportation system.  “It’s really a connecting point for transit for the central city,” he said.

The renovated Central Station will no longer include the historic display of past Phoenix buses located at its southwest corner, which will be moved off-site, Melnychenko said.   Also, Melnychenko said Central Station will match the Civic Space by adapting its color scheme and using a lot of similar plant life.  The project is expected to be complete in early 2011, Melnychenko said.  [Note: Read the full article at North, south improvements set for downtown Phoenix Civic Space Park.]

Building a (bicycle) critical mass in Phoenix

About 100 Phoenix cyclists rode around the downtown area in late January to raise motor-vehicle drivers’ awareness on sharing the road.  As part of a worldwide event that happens the last Friday of every month known as Critical Mass, the bicyclists met at Steele Indian School Park at North Third Street and East Indian School Road illuminating the streets of Phoenix with their safety lights until reaching the Civic Space Park where they lifted their bikes in unison.

In case you missed it: Downtown Voices Visioning Conference welcome address

Below is the transcript of Steve Weiss’ welcome address at the opening of the Downtown Voices Coalition’s Visioning Conference on January 15, 2010 at the Matador Mexican Restaurant.

Good evening and welcome to the pre-event for tomorrow’s Downtown Voices Coalition Visioning Conference.

You know, Downtown Voices was formed in a place just like this.  As a matter of fact, if the Matador bar wanted to, they could create a new drink called the DVC.  All you need is a shot of good tequila and a signature on an article of incorporation!

What some may not realize is that Downtown Voices Coalition was the culmination of a chain of events that began with a move to bring a pro football stadium to downtown.  As the art folks and small business owners got wind of the plan, they felt their work to make a new and interesting arts district was going to suffer with a giant stadium plunked in its center.  Though the protests didn’t stop the demolition and razing of the Evans Churchill neighborhood by speculators and the City, it did manage to shine a light on the project, and successfully persuade the city officials to put the idea aside.

For the first time, artists and small business folks started talking to each other.  Then, the Jerde Project, a big box mall development, was floated as another direction for downtown.  Ideas were being discussed for another ASU campus, and suddenly the University began as a player in the fate of the downtown community.  The fledgling organization known as D-PAC, the Downtown Phoenix Arts Coalition, felt now was the time to get the other voices heard, ones that didn’t have political power or an outstretched hand looking for tax incentives and variances.

The result was an event singular in the City’s history: A one-day facilitated discussion at the Icehouse of over 80 downtown stakeholders, to determine what WE as a group wanted for the future of downtown Phoenix.  The resulting report created from the discussion was titled Downtown Voices: Creating a Sustainable Downtown.” It was not only presented to the City of Phoenix, but also found its way into many of the aspects of the newly created Downtown Strategic Plan.

On that day, when we all met and talked, new relationships were formed.

Artists, business owners, developers and, yes, even city officials began to realize that the ultimate goal of the downtown stakeholders were actually very similar.

However, as the dust began to settle from the good work done, development projects in once untouched and unwanted areas began to rise.  We as stakeholders learned how zoning by variance and self-imposed hardships could dramatically change the development rulebook.

A key group of stakeholders, coming from different backgrounds yet tied together with similar concerns, realized it would be beneficial to speak with one voice, the voice of what became the Downtown Voices Coalition.  We met with a lawyer at the old Ramada Inn downtown bar, and with a toast, began our first mission and organization.

Negotiating a better project for The Summit at Copper Square became our first test, and as we created our organization’s bylaws and elected officers, we found direction from that initial Downtown Voices document.

It was a boom time, and it seemed many times we were playing Whack-A-Mole, that great carnival game where hitting one pop-up mole only made another rise.  We found ourselves as a group both welcomed and disparaged.  The tactics of “Agitate, Negotiate and, when all else fails, Litigate” brought us through a series of events with many successes and some sad losses.

A Tibetan Buddhist Lama, whom when asked at a conference the definition Buddhism, replied “Divine Common Sense.”

It is regular old common sense that drives our group, and something else just as tangible.  Dr. Howard Cutler has worked with His Holiness the Dalai Lama to write three books, The Art of Happiness, The Art of Happiness at Work, and The Art of Happiness in a Troubled World. In each book, the over-arching view expressed that people as a common goal ultimately desire happiness above all else.

As I’ve worked with this group of fellow DVC members, I’ve come to realize that each member seeks the same thing: Happiness in their lives and in their community.  There isn’t one member of DVC who wouldn’t want happiness above all other things.  The desire is a better place to live, a better place to create sustainable businesses, and a genuine dedication to staying here and making it a great city for all of us.

An example of how different this sentiment can be expressed was in one particular issue, when a proposed out of scale development’s lawyer declared in front of City Council that he’d “never dealt with people who didn’t want to raise their property values.”

The truth is, we represent people who aren’t moving toward the next buck or the next city, to which it’s more important to raise living values than financial values.

Since 2004, new blood with new ideas have entered the downtown picture.  Individuals are drawn to the small-town feel of the 5th Largest City in the Nation, great small businesses have enhanced neighborhoods, partners have been found in thoughtful development, and the ASU Downtown campus is showing signs of like-minded goals for that sustainable, cool, and enhanced downtown where we all will happily live, work, and recreate.

In these circumstances of a down-turned economy, it seems appropriate to take a breath, reflect a bit on the past, but, most important, look forward.

  • What is the City that we hope for?
  • What have we achieved and what can we improve?
  • How can we get more voices to speak as Downtown Voices so that together we can create that happiness we all desire?

These are tomorrow’s questions, and the facilitated discussion we begin at 10 am at the A.E. England building at OUR Downtown Civic Space will help to provide some answers.

Tonight we reflect, remember old battles, good friends, vocal and silent partners.  Tomorrow we begin anew and renewed, with new ideas and voices, to create a better Phoenix.

I toast the future.  To the city of Phoenix!

Viewpoint: Phoenix budget woes, big art, light rail made ’09 quite a year

[Source: Arizona Republic; section headers organized by yours truly] — With this being Christmas week, we figured you wouldn’t want to read a traditional editorial any more than we wanted to write one.  So today, we lighten things up a bit with awards for notable achievements in 2009.

Phoenix Overall

  • Story of the year: Phoenix did the virtually impossible this year — it cut $270 million from the general fund to balance the budget due to low sales-tax revenue.  Residents are feeling the effects with reduced hours or closures of swimming pools, libraries, and senior centers.  They also see more graffiti and potholes because staff is stretched so thin.  Now the city is talking about cutting an additional $100 million or so.  This story is getting old.
  • Best cheerleader: Mayor Phil Gordon earns this award again.  With frequent trips to Washington, D.C., to lobby for stimulus funds, and Janet Napolitano resigning as governor to lead Homeland Security, Gordon is the face of Arizona.
  • Embarrassment: Rep. Ray Barnes’ rambling reasons for voting to cut $144 million from public education.  Grab some eggnog and watch this Phoenix Republican go off.
  • Hot potato: The idea to raise the sales tax temporarily to generate revenue quickly.  Mayor Gordon suggested a community member take on his idea.  But no one wants to touch it.
  • Landmark: The city became the second in the state to offer a domestic-partner registry to gay or straight couples who share a Phoenix residence.  Among other privileges, the registry grants partners visitation rights in hospitals.
  • Pillar: City Manager Frank Fairbanks earns this award again.  He retired this year, but not before balancing the nastiest budget deficit in city history.  Thanks, Frank.

Downtown Focused/Strong Influence

  • Pushin’ on: Light rail has its fans and its foes.  But ridership is up and businesses have sprouted along the line.  The system is approaching it first anniversary.  We say light rail is on track.
  • Newcomer: Janet Echelman’s “Her Secret Is Patience” at the new Civic Space Park downtown opened to much criticism.  Meant to resemble a cactus bloom, the floating sculpture was called everything from a basketball hoop to a male contraceptive.  Not that we mind.  Some of the best artwork in the world drew heavy criticism.  We’re just glad people are noticing what downtown Phoenix has to offer.
  • Comeback: Phoenix Urban Market Grocery and Wine Bar at Central Avenue and Pierce Street is the first grocer to serve the area in 30 years.  It only carries the basics.  But milk, vegetables, bread, pasta and other staples are welcome.
  • Bragging rights: President Barack Obama made three visits to the Valley this year.  One of those was to the new Phoenix Convention Center, where Obama addressed the Veterans of Foreign Wars national convention.
  • Feather in the cap: A budding knowledge-based economy, parks and preservation efforts, and teen spaces at public libraries make Phoenix an All-America City.  Now it has the civic award to prove it.  This was Phoenix’s fifth win.  It would be a shame to lose these gains to budget cuts in the down economy.

Other Parts of Phoenix

  • Senseless act: A photo-enforcement-van driver was shot to death while deployed near Loop 101 in north Phoenix.  Thomas DeStories was indicted in connection with the shooting death of Douglas Georgianni.
  • Tallest story: Despite opposition from neighbors, the City Council approved a Mormon temple whose steeple and spire will rise 86 feet above the Deer Valley area.
  • Unsung hero: The Macehualli Day Labor Center in northeastern Phoenix provides a central location for day laborers and potential employers to negotiate business.  The center is for sale.

Mayor’s talk urges more investment for schools, downtown Phoenix

[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.]

Connecting a City -or- The Grand Canals of Phoenix

[Source: William Hanley, Green Source blog] — Having only visited Phoenix a couple of times, my understanding of the city has largely been framed by its location, among burnt-umber mountains in verdant Sonoran Desert, and it’s national headline-making problems: it was quickly filling up its valley with highway-driven, low-density sprawl and isolated pockets of residential, commercial, and recreational activity connected only by car.  But this morning, I attended a Greenbuild education session that featured two plans to remedy that disconnect between urban functions.  One is well underway, and the other is gaining traction in the community, the government, and the private sector.

The first actually provided the venue for the session.  It was held inside the former A.E. England Motor Company building, which has been renovated into an event space, gallery, and café.  The space sits inside the centerpiece of recent downtown development, Civic Space Park.  The public space opened in April, and it is literally at the center of the city, along Central Avenue—which splits the street grid into east and west sides—and bounded on both sides by tracks for the city’s new light rail system….

The core presentation this morning focused on a scheme that would create several such hubs throughout the city.  Canalscape is a project by the Planning Program at ASU’s School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning that envisions the development of mixed-use structures along Phoenix’s 181 miles of canals…  [Note: Read the full blog entry at Connecting a City -or- The Grand Canals of Phoenix.]

Phoenix mayor to give annual state of downtown address, Nov. 17

Logo-final2-258x300On Tuesday, November 17 from 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon hosts his annual “state of downtown.”  With the theme of “Dining in the Streets,” the event will take place at Civic Space Park (light rail stations at Central/1st avenues and Van Buren Street).  More details to follow.