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Jane’s Walk celebrates community art, architecture

[Source: Sadie Jo Smokey, The Arizona Republic]

Next weekend, Valley residents will take to the streets to learn about art and architecture in their community, and honor Jane Jacobs.

Jane’s Walk is a series of free neighborhood walking tours that takes place around the world on the first weekend of May to coincide with Jacobs’ birthday, May 4, 1916.

Former Phoenix resident Yuri Artibise, who relocated to Canada this month, helped organize Jane’s Walks the past few years. Artibise said Jacobs was an activist who championed the interests and knowledge of residents over a centralized approach to city building.

“It’s meant to promote and celebrate walkable urbanism,” Artibise said. “Last year the walk in Phoenix’s warehouse district had 90 people.”

Christina Plante and Ed Lebow are guiding the walk in Sunnyslope on May 7.

Plante, who lives and works in Sunnyslope, and Lebow, Phoenix’s public art director, will offer a personal take on the history and planning of public art in north central Phoenix.

The 2-mile walk begins at the Sunnyslope Transit Center, 8927 N. Third St.

Besides offering a look at public art along Dunlap and Central avenues, the walk will provide a lesson on the history of city-financed public art.

In the late 1980s, the Junior League of Phoenix initiated a canal beautification project. Financial support came from a National Endowment for the Arts grant, Salt River Project, Phoenix, Tempe, Mesa, Scottsdale, Chandler and Gilbert. Phoenix committed to five demonstration projects along canals.

“The canal project came out of a long, long effort,” Lebow said. “The Junior League of Phoenix wanted to show how the canal banks could be better public space for the public. It took a lot of planning for Sunnyslope residents to accomplish that.”

The Calle 16 Jane’s Walk will feature an up-and-coming arts and culture district on 16th Street, focusing on the Hispanic population of the surrounding neighborhoods.

The Mesa Jane’s Walk will highlight downtown and historic Mesa.

Information: www.janeswalkusa.org.

Jane’s Walk Details

Three walks will take place May 7 and 8th:

  • Sunnyslope: May 7th, 8 to 10 a.m., Sunnyslope Transit Center, 8927 N. Third St. Information: christina. plante@jcl.com or 602-870-6060, Ext. 1174.
  • Mesa: May 7th, 9 to 11 a.m., meet at the south end of the Mesa Arts Center’s Shadow Walk, 1 E. Main St. Information: janeswalkmesa@gmail.com
  • Calle 16: May 8th, 8 to 10 a.m., begin at Way Cool Hair, 1524 E. McDowell Road, and end at Barrio Café, 2814 N. 16th St.

Phoenix leaders to fill city council vacancy… again

Arizona's new State Land Commissioner, Maria Baier

[Source: Scott Wong, Arizona Republic] — Here we go again… Gov. Jan Brewer’s decision Tuesday to tap Maria Baier as state land commissioner leaves another vacancy on the Phoenix City Council.  Just a few months ago, the council appointed Sal DiCiccio to replace Councilman Greg Stanton, who resigned to take a top job in Attorney General Terry Goddard’s office.  Twenty-two people had applied for the vacant seat.  Baier, who has represented District 3 on the council since January 2008, plans [resigned] her seat at 5 p.m. Wednesday.  The council will have to appoint an interim replacement between June 29 and July 2, according to the city charter.

Those interested in applying for the vacancy should contact the City Clerk’s Office at 602-262-6837.  Applicants must be a registered voter and live in the district, which includes the Sunnyslope, Moon Valley, and Shadow Mountain neighborhoods and the area around Paradise Valley Mall.  Because Baier has more than one year left on her term, the council must call for a special election no sooner than Nov. 3.  Voters in the district will then determine who will complete Baier’s term, which ends in January 2012.

Baier said things happened suddenly. She got a call from the Governor’s Office last Saturday asking for references and other background check information.  By Monday, Brewer had offered her the job.  The councilwoman said it will be bittersweet leaving the city after such a short time in office.  “It was the greatest priviledge of my life to serve the residents of District 3.  I haven’t met a more thoughtful and kind group of people in my life,” Baier said.  “But I’m going to continue to serve the residents of District 3 and many other folks across the state as state land commissioner.”

Mayor Phil Gordon called Baier “one of our council’s brightest stars” and said her successor will need to be ready on Day 1.  “These are challenging times that require strong and immediate leadership,” he said.  “I will be supporting the best-qualified candidate to fill a pair of shoes that need to hit the ground running from the first minute of the first day.”  [Note: To read the full article and online comments, click here.]

Phoenix working to adapt vintage buildings for new uses

The city of Phoenix is working to simplify the process of adapting older buildings for new business uses on an all-new episode of Building Phoenix, premiering 8 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 28, on Phoenix 11, the city’s news and information station available to Cox and Qwest Cable subscribers (for additional airdates and times, click here).

Program highlights: A 1940s firehouse in Sunnyslope becomes Bomberos Café and Wine Bar; coffee connoisseurs are filling up at Copper Star Coffee, housed within a vintage gas station in the Melrose on 7th Ave. area of midtown Phoenix (pictured at right); a former tire shop is transformed into Results Only, a facility to get pumped up and healthy; and the trendsetter who transformed a historic post office into Postino Wine Café is ready to do it again; plus appearances by Vice Mayor Tom Simplot and Councilwoman Maria Baier.

“Building Phoenix” is a production of the city of Phoenix Development Services Department.  Michael Hammett, host and executive producer, is an Emmy Award winner and former contributing reporter/producer for ABC 15’s Sonoran Living.  The program will be streamed live during the premiere.  The Building Phoenix show is available on-demand.