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Join us for our next Downtown Voices meeting, Saturday, Sept. 9, 9:30 a.m.

Our summer hiatus is over, so we’re getting back into the swing of things for all things downtown. Join us for the next Downtown Voices Coalition Steering Committee meeting, Saturday, Sept. 9, starting at 9:30 a.m. at the Roosevelt Commons Clubhouse, 825 N. 6th Avenue. This month we’ll have a few presentations on “hot” topics, plus checking up on things happening around town since we last met in July. Come share your thoughts and what you know.



  • Update on various transportation related plans and projects from representatives from the City’s Street Transportation Department


  • Central & Adams RFP (Terry McAvoy)
  • 814 North 5th Avenue (Eric Johnson)
  • 3rd St. & McDowell (Los Olivas car wash property)
  • 7th St. & Palm Lane
  • Union @ Roosevelt grand opening, Sept. 27
  • Other


  • FAA Flight Path Changes
  • BMO Sign (Midtown)
  • UA Biomedical Sciences Partnership Building Sign
  • Other


  • Time to share!



DVC Steering Committee Meeting Agenda, Aug. 8, 2015

Hello Friends of Downtown Voices Coalition:

Please join us on Saturday, August 8, starting at 9:30 a.m. at the Roosevelt Commons Clubhouse, 825 N. 6th Avenue, for the next Downtown Voices Coalition Steering Committee meeting.



  • City Ballot Propositions (Aug. 25 election)
  • FAA Flight Path Changes; neighborhoods file suit
  • City of Phoenix Tree Ordinance Review Committee
  • City of Phoenix Alley Committee
  • Roosevelt Business Improvement District (BID)


  • Arizona State Fairgrounds
  • Triangle Neighborhood/Center 8 townhomes
  • City of Phoenix RFP, 2nd Ave. & McKinley


  • Alliance residential development next to Phoenix Arts Museum
  • Roosevelt Streetscape/Public Art (including “the pots”)
  • Parking solutions for Roosevelt Row/Evans Churchill
  • Circle K at 7th St. & Roosevelt (and adjacent electronic billboard)



We look forward to seeing you on Saturday, and hopefully sometime during First Friday which is coming up… on Friday! Thanks for all that you do for our community.

Tim Eigo
Chair, Steering Committee
Downtown Voices Coalition

DVC In Conversation With District 4 and 8 Council Candidates

Downtown Voices Coalition, downtown Phoenix’s only grassroots stakeholder group that champions issues of urban excellence, like small and locally owned business, historic preservation, sustainability in a broader perspective, and good government, is hosting a series of one-on-one online conversations with the four remaining candidates for Phoenix City Council. The four candidates will be in conversation with our Edward Jensen, our group’s Secretary as well as an ardent observer in Phoenix politics and governance.

Leading off the conversations will be Laura Pastor, a program director at South Mountain Community College and the daughter of U.S. Congressman Ed Pastor, on Friday, October 4, from 7:00-8:00pm. Justin Johnson, running against Pastor for the District 4 seat, will be in conversation with Jensen on Monday, October 7, also from 7:00-8:00pm. Johnson is a real estate developer and the son of former Phoenix mayor Paul Johnson. Conversations with Kate Gallego and Warren Stewart are being scheduled for the week of October 7.

The conversations will be hosted on DVC’s Google+ page  as a Google+ Hangout On Air, an innovative platform to allow many observers from Phoenix to watch and participate in the conversation. Twitter users can send in their questions and comments using the hashtag #DVC4 and #DVC8 (depending on the district represented). Participants who do not have Google+ can watch on DVC’s YouTube channel, The conversation will then be available on the DVC YouTube channel for watching after the live event has concluded.

“I am pleased to be hosting these one-on-one conversations,” said Jensen. “This is a unique, first-of-its-kind way to engage with the candidates and the questions that will be asked are not the conventional questions asked in debates and fora. It gives the candidates an opportunity to envision that they are in their respective City Council seat and working to accomplish their agenda.”

The questions are focused around the central theme of governance and how the candidates plan to accomplish their policy proposals while they are in office.  The four subthemes are “City Hall and the Next City Manager,” “Governance and Intergovernmental Relations,” “Downtown / Urban Phoenix and Urban Living Infrastructure,” and “Sustainability and the Environment in a Broader Context.” The one-on-one conversation format will allow Jensen to pursue different lines of questioning based on the answers given, allowing for tremendous flexibility. About 15-20 minutes at the end will be reserved for audience questions.

Downtown Voices Coalition is a coalition of stakeholder organizations that embrace growth in downtown Phoenix, but is mindful that healthy growth should be based upon existing downtown resources — the vibrancy of neighborhoods, the strength of the arts community, the uniqueness of historic properties, and the wonderful small businesses that dot downtown. For more information, visit

May 2013 Meeting Agenda

DVCblocksOur May 11, 2013, meeting is coming up very soon! We meet from 9:30am to 11:30am at the Roosevelt Commons Clubhouse, 825 N 6th Avenue in downtown Phoenix.

On our agenda: 

I. Call to Order and Introductions

II. Consent Agenda (for information only)

  • Treasurer’s Report – Louisa Stark

III. Community Updates / Guest Speakers

  • Roosevelt Streetscape and Upcoming Streets Projects – Ray Dovalina and others
  • Novawest presentation on “The Pin” observation deck – Jay Thorne and Eric Johnson

IV. Updates on DVC Action Items 2013 as needed

V. Old Business

  • DVC t-shirt design approval – Louise Roman / Steve Weiss / Will Bruder
  • Hance Park updates – Louise Roman / Tim Sprague / Edward Jensen

VI. New Business

  • New Subcommittee to look at Bylaws Amendments – Executive Committee
  • Adams Street design charrettes – open floor to those who attended
  • Valley of the Sunflowers parking lot – Tim Eigo et al

VII. Open Floor 2 minutes each, please!

VIII. Adjournment – A meeting of the Officers may follow.

Next Meeting: Saturday 8 June 2013, 9:30am, Roosevelt Commons Clubhouse


Local experts and national author to discuss state of sustainability in metro Phoenix, Jan. 17

A panel of local experts and Andrew Ross, author of “Bird on Fire: Lessons from the World’s Least Sustainable City,” will discuss the current state of sustainability in metropolitan Phoenix at a public forum on Tuesday, January 17, 2012.  The event, free to the public, will be held at the George Washington Carver Museum & Cultural Center at 415 E. Grant Street. Doors open at 5:30 p.m., panel discussion 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., audience Q&A 7:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., and reception with complimentary refreshments 8 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Panel moderator will be Charles Redman, Arizona State University (ASU) Virginia M. Ullmann professor of Natural History and the Environment and founding director of the ASU School of Sustainability. The current slate of panelists (with two to be added soon) includes:

  • Maria Baier, state land commissioner, Arizona;
  • Steve Betts, former president/CEO of SunCor Development and current Arizona District Council Chair of the Urban Land Institute;
  • Terry Goddard, former Phoenix mayor and former Arizona attorney general who now teaches a course at the ASU Downtown Phoenix campus: “Phoenix and the Art of Public Decision Making;”
  • Taz Loomans, architect and writer/blogger on sustainability issues;
  • Kris Mayes, former commissioner of the Arizona Corporation Commission and current director of the ASU Law and Sustainability Program and professor at the ASU Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law;
  • Andrew Ross, professor of Social and Cultural Analysis, New York University.
  • Silvia Urrutia, director of Housing and Healthcare Finance, Raza Development Fund

According to Susan Copeland, steering committee chair of Downtown Voices Coalition, “Issues of sustainability are paramount to the future of Phoenix. Ross’ book is a great springboard from which to begin, or continue, discussion.”

The Downtown Voices Coalition is sponsoring the event with in-kind support from the Lexington Hotel in downtown Phoenix, Four Peaks Brewery of Tempe and the George Washington Carver Museum and Cultural Center.

Bird on Fire” is available at Made Art Boutique, 922 North 5th Street in downtown Phoenix and at Changing Hands Bookstore at 6428 South McClintock Drive in Tempe. It is also available at Burton Barr, Cesar Chavez and Mesquite Branch libraries in Phoenix.

Downtown Voices Coalition is a coalition of stakeholder organizations that embrace growth in downtown Phoenix, but is mindful that healthy growth should be based upon existing downtown resources — the vibrancy of neighborhoods, the strength of the arts community, the uniqueness of historic properties, and the wonderful small businesses that dot downtown. For more information, visit

DVC Minutes for February 12, 2011

Meeting held at Roosevelt Commons, 825 N. 6th Ave., Phoenix, AZ 85003

Attending: Kim Kasper, Tim Sprague, Louisa Stark, Elise Griffin, John Saccoman, Steve Weiss, Margaret Dietrich, Jim McPherson, Reid Butler, Susan Copeland, , John Maurin, Adrianna Gruber, Jim Gruber, Tim Eigo, Roger Brevort, Erick Baer, Carol Poore, Beatrice Moore, Paul Barnes, Bill Scheel.

9:50 AM
Introductions and approval of 1/8/11 minutes:

Motion to approve Tim Sprague, Second Louisa Stark, voice vote carried unanimously.

9:51 AM

  • Couple of groups already working on it.
  • Paul Barnes-Citizens for Greater Phoenix wants to sponsor one. 4 major candidates will not want to go to small, poorly attended debates.
  • Erick Baer-Debates should be multiple debates, not just one-South Phoenix should have one.
  • Beatrice-Debate should be open, with complete citizen input, asking questions.
  • Reid-Like the idea of downtown-centric.
  • Susan-Half questions structured, half open forum?
  • Erick-Faced with questions, how do they perform?
  • Tim Sprague-Great opportunity to “market” DVC by staging downtown-centric debate.
  • Margaret Dietrich-Citizens for Greater PHX will have candidates voting records on their website.
  • Suggestions continued-Jon Talton as moderator? Venues discussed-Methodist Church, Central and Palm Lane, ASU Downtown, old Phoenix Prep Academy-look into inviting downtown neighborhood organizations.
  • Filing deadline June 1st, so best dates in May or June-
  • Possibilities-Go it alone w/neighborhood groups/Go w/Citizens for Greater PHX/Go with Downtown Phoenix Journal & Phoenix Community Alliance/some combination of these/combo of DVC + neighborhood groups+Citizens for Greater PHX.

Motion-Reid Butler-establish subcommittee to evaluate options for mayoral debate. 2nd Tim Sprague, motion carries unanimously on voice vote, subcommittee members-Margaret Dietrich, Susan Copeland, Tim Eigo, Tim Sprague, Reid Butler, Steve Weiss.

Treasurer’s Report-Beatrice Moore

  • Accountant looked into tax prep 2008, 2009 filed, 2010 still needs to be done-$150. for each.
  • Recommends we pay accountant and that we consolidate accounts. Discussion followed.

Motion-Reid Butler-Get compliance, spend $450. to get it done, 2nd Erick Baer, motion carries unanimously on voice vote.

10:30 AM
Park Survey

  • Reid-should there be a big discussion of all parks or just Deck Park? Reid is to invite Park Dept. Karen Williams to April meeting.

10:39 AM
After-effects of DVC response in Republic to DPP 20-year self-congratulatory editorial

  • Bill Scheel-City Hall saw it, and DVC got the totality-good to have beyond D.P.P. position.
  • Susan-was invited to D.P.P. conversation by Dan Klocke about 10 year plan.

10:45 AM
Metro West Light Rail Alignment

  • John Maurin has gotten 130 signatures of those opposed to the Jefferson alignment.
  • Bill Scheel-possible conflicts between General Plan and direction of current alignment.
  • Reid-If 19th Ave can’t work, can Van Buren work? Staff says no.
  • Discussion followed re: benefits of 19th Ave alignment, history of middle class white color African-African families who originally built houses-Victorian era.
  • John Maurin-MAG sys 56 properties need to be bought; he’s only counted 20. MAG would rather ruin whole block of houses versus 4 houses in University/Oakland area.

Motion Tim Sprague-For DVC to write letter of support for St.  Matthews Neighborhood, oppose Jefferson alignment and reconsider the 19th Avenue alignment proposal. Seconded by Louisa Stark, motion carried by voice vote.

Susan Copeland will write letter with help from Louisa.

Discussion of Building Community Cinema-Reid and Steve

  • Goal is to reenergize and reach out from DVC, discuss DVC issues in context of film series, films will be programmed around community building issues and in various local spaces, first show projected for last Thursday in March(going to happen now in April).

11:27 AM
Trash Cans in Historic Neighborhoods

  • City wants to close alleys and have folks take cans to front. At hearing for idea, 100 people showed up in opposition. Police say alleyway is crime issue, but abandoning alleys will create new issues, especially homeless issues.

Motion to adjourn-Kim Kasper, second Steve Weiss…voice vote, carried unanimously.


Jon Talton Responds to DVC’s Downtown Phoenix Assessment

The following is a post by Jon Talton, a former Arizona Republic business columnist, who now writes as “Rogue Columnist.” Jon wrote the following post using Downtown Voices Coalition’s Saturday op-ed as a springboard for discussion.

[Source: Rogue Columnist]

Downtown, again

Susan Copeland, chair of the Downtown Voices Coalition, recently wrote an op-ed in the Arizona Republic, entitled, “A realistic downtown assessment.” It was mostly a clear-eyed look at the reality of downtown Phoenix’s challenges: Expecting too much from sports teams, failure to integrate ASU into the city fabric, too many surface parking lots and chimerical hopes from an “entertainment district.” Copeland rightly adds that CityScape is “suburban mall stylistically dating to the 20th century,” although I have a hard time mourning the brutalist “park” of Patriot’s Square. She adds:

With all the damage done, there are still hopeful signs, if only our city officials and civic leaders follow their own community vetted and charetted ideals. The Urban Form Project; Arts, Culture, and Small Business District Overlay; and Adaptive Reuse Program are smarter moves for aspiring urban infill than another stab at a faux urban Entertainment District. When the city actually listens to its citizens rather than check-marking the input box, great things happen, like the improved ASU Nursing School exterior or the forthcoming Washington Street Centennial Project.

Well, fine. And good on her for searching for realism. But regular readers will have to forgive me if I cover some familiar ground as well as discuss the deep problems and real opportunities facing downtown Phoenix. I’m still not sure people fully get it.

Phoenix leaders made a series of catastrophic mistakes in the 1960s, 1970s and even 1980s that left downtown nearly dead. Among them: Bulldozing of the Deuce to make room for homely Civic Plaza with no provision for where the homeless would go; failure to preserve the kinds of historic buildings that provide the bones of a great city, or even the one- and two-story buildings that could have housed small businesses in a downtown revival; pursuing a policy of massive tear-downs in downtown and the capitol mall, and allowing quality of life petty crime that, along with City Hall’s neglect, drove out the small retailers and their customers. Retail for the working poor was also forced out in a misguided effort to turn downtown into an office “park” with stadiums. In addition, the produce district was allowed to fade as agriculture became less important and passenger train service ended, and no strategy was pursued to give this fascinating area a second life. Most Phoenicians today can’t even imagine that as late as the 1960s, downtown Phoenix was the state’s busiest shopping district and all those vacant lots — or bland parking garages and boxy skyscrapers — once held many precious buildings and dense business activity.

To be sure, bad luck and prevailing trends played a huge role. These were the eras of malls and cheap gasoline, the suburban dream and the notion that downtowns were things of the past. The art of civic design had been lost, so lovely territorial buildings were demolished to make room for Patriot’s Square, and in front of Symphony Hall was an ugly frying pan of a “public space.” Phoenix was cursed with more land than brains, so sprawl constantly drew businesses and residents outward. Park Central and the skyscrapers of Uptown were only the beginning. The old merchant princes that had held downtown together died off. Not enough major companies remained. Outside of Palmcroft, no affluent neighborhoods were close to the core; the Papago Freeway nearly killed off the middle-class neighborhoods directly north of downtown and the comeback took many years. Over time, much popular loyalty to downtown faded.

All this left downtown deader than that of any major city I have studied or lived in. As it turns out, downtowns are very important and enjoyed a renaissance in many places. Yet for Phoenix, coming back from such a hole is very difficult. (Even Charlotte, with its banks and other headquarters driving a major downtown revival, has failed to really rekindle retail, having allowed its department stores to decamp to a mall, its local small businesses to die, and some of its best historic buildings to be ripped down). Thus, skyscrapers were slowly added, Arizona Center was built (but facing in, like a suburban mall), the Civic Plaza expanded. But the patient was at best stabilized. Tear-downs continued. The major headquarters were either bought by outsiders or, in the case of APS, radically downsized. The consequences were staggering; for example, imagine if Wells Fargo had built its operations center downtown rather than in exurban Chandler? The stadiums were fine, but the people who vilified Jerry Colangelo (now a West Side developer — happy?) missed the point. So many stewards with the means to invest in downtown were gone that Colangelo was the last man standing. There was no Colangelo of banking. No Colangelo building a software district in the old produce warehouses. No Colangelo to endow a new Symphony Hall. None to keep and lure new small businesses. None developing new office buildings and filling them with tenants. In other words, all the stadiums are in downtown Denver, but that didn’t stop that city’s revival in other areas. But Denver was never in Phoenix’s hole (it came close, with modernist planners wanting to tear down Union Station and the historic buildings of SoDo). And it had stewards and business leaders with capital and vision.

The 2000s seemed promising. Under Mayor Skip Rimsza, and followed through by Phil Gordon, the city built a fine convention center, light rail, ASU downtown, the Sheraton and lured T-Gen and the UofA medical school. The Herberger Theater Center, Chase Field and USAirways Arena are all valuable assets (the football stadium should, and could, have been built downtown). “Meds and eds” could have been a real game changer had it been pursued with vigor, creating a major medical-research-biotech hub downtown. It wasn’t, and other mistakes also held back downtown. City Hall dragged its feet on mixed-use, adaptive reuse and other downtown-friendly policies. The Downtown Phoenix Partnership wasted money and time on the insipid “Copper Square” “rebranding campaign.” Downtown got caught up in the bubble, and the narrow capital financing it in metro Phoenix. Thus, the promising 44 Monroe looks headed for apartments. The lovely art deco Valley National Bank headquarters never made it to boutique hotel. Downtown, and the center city, continue to lack enough private investment, high-paid jobs and residents with money and an urban sensibility to crawl back past the tipping point. It lacks a real economic-development organization. A hostile Legislature — and perhaps in the future hostile City Council — present a daunting challenge; one example is the lack of tax-increment financing, critical to downtown San Diego’s comeback, or support for the downtown university/biosciences campuses. Land banking continues to make the core look uninviting, to say the least. Center city champions, so combat fatigued from years of banging their heads against City Hall, sometimes pick the wrong battles, are often too far from each other to build a critical mass, and in any case lack the capital to really launch a comeback.

So what to do with a challenge? It’s unlike any other major city in America. Does Phoenix need a downtown? Can it ever attract an urban sensibility of its own? Can it see the central core as critical for sustainability? What, realistically, can be done? I’ll take all this up next time, and I’m sure our commenters will start early. To note: This is the 10th anniversary of Portland’s restaurant, not downtown but close. It shows what the passion and persistence of two local owners, Dylan and Michelle Bethge, can do. This has been replicated elsewhere, just not enough. And: Will Bruder has left Scottsdale to move back to the Central Corridor.


Jon has written a follow-up column. You can find it here.

DVC Minutes for October 9, 2010

Meeting held at Roosevelt Commons, 825 N. 6th Ave., Phoenix, AZ 85003

Attending: Tim Sprague, Louisa Stark, Matt Tomb, Elise Griffin, Beatrice Moore, Steve Weiss, Reid Butler, Emily Gersema, Tim Eigo, Suad Mahmuljin, Karla Grijalva, Eva O. Olivas, Sean Sweat, Tim Eigo

9:40 AM: Introductions and approval of minutes

Motion to approve Reid Butler, Second Tim Eigo, voice vote carried unanimously.


State Budget 2 billion in overage, borrowed so much bond rating down. Sold state buildings for lease back, education and health care cuts imminent.

State already has high state sales tax rate, with 51-53 % of state revenue as sales tax.

Solution for fiscal soundness-10 billion dollars on books as exemptions-if medical/health care exemptions removed from discussion, still 3 billion left in exemptions(examples-country club memberships, 4” gas pipe used for home construction, horse/dog racing) No stomach from state legislature to increase property taxes.

Reform of tax code key-revenue neutral-lower sales tax from 6% to 4%.

Best way to solve problem-close exemptions, tax services(big push-back). Otherwise when temporary 3 year tax increase expires, state will fall off cliff financially.

Discussion: promote and advertise that exemptions exist. Broaden base, spread burden around

2012-ballot initiative-equity in tax codes,but hope is that it should be discussed in legislature before doing it through ballot.


Master Plan discussion in progress for Hance Park, Karen Williams from City of Phoenix in charge.

January 27, 2011-get Master Plan approved from Parks Board

Group working to create Conservancy-long-term commitment looks for additional revenue from park. “How do you bring in $20,000./month?”

Performing Arts Center under-utilized/Make Hance Park gathering place

Block out workshop with DVC – discussion Hance Park-invite ASU Downtown and Karen Williams


Long-range planning light rail to West Valley

Alignments Jefferson through St. Matthews-Metro and City postponed decision-pushback from community.

Best idea-use 19th Avenue

Tim Sprague-current route gives least economic development opportunities

Reid Butler-Working group preferred Adams versus Jefferson

19th Ave-from I-10 costs more but better economic development

New discussion-N edge I-10 versus middle of I-10

Need real discussion meeting with community-not show and tell


Steve Weiss-should I stay in this group even if it’s seems a joke and a time-waster?

DVC – Yes, because it’s good to know what’s going on.


Tim Eigo, second Steve Weiss


11:32 AM: CVS  McDowell/Central applying for liquor license

DVC to send letter of disapproval(note that letter ended up sent to Phoenix Councilman Nowakowski…liquor clerk said we were out of area for consideration based on physical address DVC, can’t use PO Box)


Louisa Stack, So Moved


DVC Letter Regarding Liquor Sales at Central and McDowell CVS

City of Phoenix
City Clerk Department
200 West Washington Street, 1st Floor
Phoenix, Arizona 85003

This is to inform you that the Downtown Voices Coalition Steering Committee has voted to support the Roosevelt and Townsend Park neighborhoods in their opposition to the request by CVS Pharmacy #9347 for a Series 09 liquor license. Additionally, this letter reflects the sentiment of several individual steering committee members who are currently participating in the development of the Hance Park Master Plan.

The sale of packaged liquor at the neighboring CVS location would, we believe, have a negative affect both on Hance Park, as well as on local neighborhoods. We believe that the ready availability of alcohol to the many street people who frequent the park will result in the same kinds of problems associated with public alcohol consumption and inebriation experienced in similar areas frequented by homeless individuals – Townsend and University Parks come to mind. Such problems, in turn, tend to spill over into neighboring communities, creating negative impacts on their quality of life, and resulting in more calls for service from police and other public agencies.

To conclude, we are requesting that the City Council deny the request by CVS Pharmacy #9347 for a Series 09 liquor license. We believe that if awarded it will serve as a detriment to the renewal of Hance Park, as well as have a negative influence on the quality of life in local neighborhoods

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely yours,

Wm. Timothy Sprague
Vice Chair, Downtown Voices Coalition

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Downtown Voices Coalition’s Monthly General Meeting is Saturday

The Downtown Voices Coalition will be holding its monthly General meeting this Saturday, September 11, 9:30 am at the Roosevelt Commons Clubhouse, 825 N. 6th Ave., Phoenix, AZ 85003 (map).


  • Introductions and minutes review 08-14-10
  • Application Elise Griffin and Matt Tomb for Steering Committee-action item
  • Discussion Update from Visioning Conference-Carol Poore, Jim McPherson
  • Discussion Regarding Washington Street Centennial Way Project and Shade Aspect Recommendations-Steve Weiss, possible action item
  • Old Business
  • New Business
Adjourn 11:30 am
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