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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.]

ASU, Phoenix Police team up to offer safe environment for downtown campus

[Source: Arizona State University] — Students who live and learn at ASU’s Downtown Phoenix campus may be considered pioneers, but they won’t encounter the Wild West when it comes to safety.  Richard Wilson, ASU Police commander at the Downtown Phoenix campus, said the area offers a safe environment for students as the 2008 fall semester commences.  “There’s a higher saturation of police and private security in this area than anywhere else in the city,” Wilson said.  “We spend more time fighting perception than crime in this area.”

Students will learn firsthand about the area and resources available to them on Campus Safety Day, held Sept. 4 at the University Center, 411 N. Central Ave.  Hosted by The Public Safety Advisory Committee and Environmental Health and Safety, the event runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and includes educational booths, visual aids, and hand-out information. 

“The administration of the ASU Downtown Phoenix campus in conjunction with the city of Phoenix is committed to creating and sustaining a community environment that is safe and productive for students, faculty, and all members of the community.  We believe that in order to provide a safe and productive learning environment, we must partner with our students and provide them not only with a strong police and security presence on the ASU Downtown Phoenix campus, but also provide opportunities for them to actively engage in the promotion of personal and community safety,” said Kimberly Novak, director for student and campus community development for the Downtown Phoenix campus.

A team of 23 ASU Police aides, eight officers, and security personnel monitor the campus 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  ASU Police officers also have a strong working relationship with the Phoenix Police Department and confer frequently on matters of mutual interest and concern.  Three officers from the Phoenix Police Department are assigned to ASU as special liaison officers that support the campus by participating in educational programs, intentionally engaging with students in their daily routines at the campus, and by serving on campus task forces aimed at enhancing safety.  These officers regularly exchange information with ASU.  The Downtown Operations Unit of Phoenix PD patrol the campus and serve as the primary policy entity.  More ASU officers will be added by the end of the semester, Wilson said.

“The crime rate in this area is very low because of the amount of patrol zones and officers in the area,” said Phoenix Police Lieutenant Jeff Lazell. “In addition to our regular patrol officers, we have bike, foot and mounted patrols, parking enforcement and liaison officers that are constantly looking for suspicious activity. It’s one of the safest sections of the city.”  [Note: To read the full article, click here.]