Blog Archives

One cyclist’s work route into downtown Phoenix

Bodybait’s bicycle commute to downtown Phoenix starting at 12th Street and Palm Lane in the Coronado historic district.

Viewpoint: Where do you live (in Phoenix)?

[Source: Seth Anderson, Downtown Phoenix Partnership blog] — The automobile is so ubiquitous in Phoenix that it has even crept into the way we speak.  With rare exception, we do not talk about where we live in terms of neighborhoods or districts, but in terms of intersections.  You hear, “I live at 7th Ave and Camelback” or “I live in North Phoenix off of (fill in the blank),” but never a reference to an established neighborhood.  (There are exceptions, but they are few.)

I think it’s unfortunate that our Phoenix lingo doesn’t include references to neighborhoods, the areas that should be little pockets of density like mini-cities within the city.  I’m thinking of places like North Park, Hillcrest, and Kensington in San Diego; Sugar House or the Avenues in Salt Lake; Lakeview or Andersonville in Chicago; or Georgetown or Dupont Circle in D.C.  Each of these neighborhoods has its own character, charm, and history and each neighborhood is integral to sustaining a healthy downtown core.  Without neighborhoods, mixed use buildings, and walkable streets, a town center can never mature into an urban city because it will lack the vibrancy and innovation necessary.  If downtown Phoenix is the urban heart or Arizona, then people are the lifeblood and the neighborhoods where the people live are the organs that supply it.

I’d like to see the city government take a more active role in “branding” the existing neighborhoods.  (And by “take a more active role” I mean cut the red tape, back off, and stop imposing more and more restrictions that insist on a suburban style of development.)  Did you know there are actually 35 historic neighborhoods in Phoenix?  I did not; I am able to identify just a handful.  Of those I have a shaky idea about where they are; I can vaguely discern when I am in one.  Willo is pretty obvious.  Coronado and Garfield are a little more inconspicuous.  However, I’d have to look at a map to identify exactly where those two neighborhoods are.  [Note: Read the full blog entry at Viewpoint: Where do you live (in Phoenix)?“]

Urban chickens the latest healthful living trend

[Source: John Faherty, Arizona Republic] — When Kate Wells needs eggs, she does not go to the store or even the refrigerator. She just sends her daughters out to the backyard. The family keeps a coop with four chickens behind its two-story Spanish Revival home in Phoenix’s Coronado neighborhood.  The Wellses are among many families now thinking more about the food they eat.

They want to know where it came from.  They want to be sure it is free of chemicals, pesticides, or hormones involved in production.  They want to decrease the amount of fossil fuel burned to get it to the table.

For the Wells family, and others like it, these concerns are eased by keeping chickens — even in suburban and urban neighborhoods that are miles from the nearest barnyard. There are others, of course, who just want some nice scrambled eggs for breakfast, and nearly everyone agrees that fresh eggs taste better.  “Much better,” Wells said. “The thought of buying a store-bought egg?  I can’t go back.”  [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

Phoenix neighborhood coalition urges City support of existing special planning districts

[Source: Paul Barnes, Neighborhood Coalition of Greater Phoenix] — Maintaining a favorable quality of life in established neighborhoods is challenging.  Citizen developed and approved area plans are one of the tools used in the struggle to preserve established neighborhoods and define their desired character.  The City of Phoenix Special Planning District Plan (“SPD”) originally known as a Special Conservation District (“SCD”) is one form of such an area plan.  At present, there are 12 SPDs:

  • Roosevelt SPD – Central City Village
  • Story SPD – Central City Village
  • Coronado SPD – Encanto Village
  • Encanto Vista SPD – Encanto Village
  • Willo SPD – Encanto Village
  • Arcadia Camelback SPD – Camelback East Village
  • North Central Avenue SPD – Camelback East Village
  • Squaw Peak Heights SPD – Camelback East Village
  • Windsor Square SPD – Camelback East Village
  • Royal Palm SPD – Alhambra Village
  • Saguaro SPD – Paradise Valley Village
  • Mountain Park SPD – South Mountain Village

Shortly after the Squaw Peak Heights SPD had been approved (July of 2006), a dissident property owner subject to the terms of the plan, filed a suit in Superior Court challenging the way the final votes for the SPD were tabulated.  In August of 2008, the court issued a Minute Entry favoring the claimant.  If the City of Phoenix fails to appeal the Squaw Peak Heights SPD Court decision within 30 days after the formal decision is handed down (could be sometime soon after the first of the year), it will cause this particular SPD to be voided.  A replacement SPD is estopped from being a possibility because of the passage in the fall of 2006 of Proposition 207.  A failure to appeal could jeopardize the validity of all of the other SPDs because they tabulated their final votes according to the same procedures as were followed in the case of the Squaw Peak Heights SPD.

The Neighborhood Coalition of Greater Phoenix believes that the loss of the existing SPDs under such circumstances will be detrimental to all neighborhoods whether or not they fall under an SPD.  This is due to the fact that an unwillingness on the part of the City of Phoenix to at least appeal the Superior Court’s decision in this instance will be interpreted by developers as a softness on the City’s part to support other existing citizen authorized/passed area plans such as the existing Specific Planning District Plans.  Such an interpretation will embolden developers to propose projects that will not be in keeping with these plans.  The same holds true for adhering to rezoning for sites throughout the city that was passed subject to approved site plans and stipulations.

Individuals and organizations in agreement with the Coalition’s position on this matter are encouraged to send a letter or e-mail by the middle of January 2009 urging Mayor Phil Gordon and Members of Council to oppose the Superior Court decision in the matter of Madison Positive Alliance of Neighbors v. Phoenix City (case on Squaw Peak Heights SPD).  The cost of such an appeal does not come from the City’s operating funds.   It is an insurance matter.   All such letters should be addressed to the party intended at 200 W. Washington Street, 11th Floor, Phoenix, AZ 85003-1611.

For more information, contact Paul Barnes, Neighborhood Coalition of Greater Phoenix, at 602-840-1579 or e-mail.

Midtown Phoenix’s Coronado neighbors celebrate 7th on 7th

Coronado resident documents storm that hit metro Phoenix, Aug. 28

News coverage, personal video, and photographs of the significant storm that hit central Phoenix on August 28, 2008.

Coronado, Midtown Museum neighbors hold dueling soirees, Nov. 7

Tis the season for neighborhood gatherings… Here is information about two that just arrived in our in-box:

Midtown Museum District Neighborhood Association

  • Date: Friday, November 7, 2008
  • 5:30 to 6:45 p.m. ~ no host happy hour at Cheuvront Wine & Cheese Bar, 1326 N. Central Ave.
  • 7 p.m. ~ free docent tour of the Phoenix Art Museum’s Cowboy Artists of America exhibit

This is the group’s first social event.  Interested individuals are welcome to meet others who live and work in our neighborhood.  Attend one or both activities.  For more information, click here.

Coronado Historic District

Join us for November’s 7th on 7th Party and enter to win Coronado’s First Annual Dessert Contest!  Do you have a tried and true “knock-out” recipe that you think your friends and neighbors will enjoy?  Then bring it along for a fun evening of judging and sampling of all kinds of mouth-watering desserts.  Prizes will be awarded to the winner and runners up, and the winning recipe will be published in the Coronado Dispatch.  If you can’t bring a dessert, then show up with your sweet tooth — neighbors will also have the chance to vote for the “Coronado’s Favorite.”  MacAlpine’s Soda Fountain, 2303 N. 7th St., is where all of the fun will take place.  The contest rules are simple… Bring enough to share and let us know if it has nuts (for those that may have allergies).  Judging begins at 6:30 p.m., so make sure your dessert reaches us in time!  Judges include Councilman Michael Nowakowski; Danielle Librera, Chef & Owner, Sweet Pea Bakery; and MacAlpine’s very own Monica!

Among America’s most overpriced ZIP codes… Phoenix’s 85006!

Coming in at #7 on the Forbes.com list of “America’s Most Overpriced ZIP Codes” is, drum-roll please, 85006 in Phoenix, AZ. That would be the Coronado historic district in the heart of Phoenix. Surprised?  Well, according to Forbes.com, in neighborhoods like Coronado, buyers are willing to pay premiums for a landmarked or historically designated home.  Those looking for a Spanish Colonial or Tudor-style property near the city pay up to live here.  It’s purchase-to-rent spread is 27.1.

Nowakowski gives residents chance to voice concerns

Phoenix Council Member Michael Nowakowski[Source: Sadie Jo Smokey, Arizona Republic] — McDowell Road bounds five central Phoenix historic districts and representatives of those neighborhoods have told new District 7 City Councilman Michael Nowakowski that improving and revitalizing the thoroughfare is a priority.  And Nowakowski is listening. Nowakowski on Saturday morning staged a meet-and-greet at Encanto Park Club House.  “How can we best serve you all?,” Nowakowski asked about 40 guests.  “How can we bring the District 7 office back to your neighborhoods?”

Resident leaders from Willo, Encanto-Palmcroft, Fairview Place, Coronado, Roosevelt, and Los Olivos shared their concerns and praised Nowakowski’s goal to give a voice back to the people.  Revitalization results have varied in the downtown area, with some neighborhoods just starting to see success, those in attendance said.  Some expressed feeling hampered by gentrification, land speculators, or a city agenda that doesn’t take residents’ wishes and concerns into consideration.  [Note: To read the full article, click here.]