David Krietor has served as President/CEO of the newly-formed Downtown Phoenix, Inc. (“DPI”) since April 8, 2013. In that time, he has begun work with community stakeholders to develop the downtown we want. “Your Downtown” shares his thoughts and DPI’s progress with the downtown community and beyond. Read the first chat here.
The Fall semester is now in full swing. By the numbers, how many students do we now have in downtown?
Yes, school is back in session and joining us in downtown Phoenix are over 20,000 students.
- 18,500 students in a variety of disciplines at Arizona State University downtown Phoenix campus.
- 1,300 future attorneys at Phoenix College of Law.
- 289 future scientists and researchers at Phoenix Union Bioscience High School.
- 282 future physicians at the University of Arizona College of Medicine-Phoenix.
- 172 future allied health professionals at Northern Arizona University’s Phoenix Biomedical Campus facility.
- 90 Grand Canyon University students happen to reside at the just-opened Roosevelt Point.
Let’s welcome them with open arms and strive to ensure their “home away from home” is the best possible experience.
What is the latest regarding DPI’s organizational capacity?
The Phoenix Community Alliance (PCA) Executive Committee approved its affiliate agreement with DPI similar to the agreement signed with the Downtown Phoenix Partnership (DPP). The agreement designates PCA as DPI’s membership affiliate. PCA’s Executive Committee also reviewed a revised PCA mission statement that is focused in part on broadening and deepening their membership base consistent with the makeup of our emerging downtown community. An active group of PCA members and friends drafted the new mission statement.
With agreements in place with our two key affiliates, DPI now must produce a consolidated DPI/PCA/DPP program of work and budget for 2014 that creates synergy, fills in program gaps, and eliminates overlap and inefficiencies.
What are some examples of downtown’s economic and cultural vitality?
Downtown is connected to a diverse collection of neighborhoods whose vibrancy is vital if we are going to have a true downtown “community.” I was reminded recently how diverse we are when I attended the Grant Park Neighborhood Association meeting. The cultural heritage and sense of commitment to a strong urban core are very evident in Grant Park. While there are challenges more complicated than in other downtown neighborhoods, there is also a sense of optimism. The meeting was held in the Grant Park gym. As I was leaving the evening meeting the park was filled with young families and kids playing basketball. In some ways it represents what our aspirations are for community engagement and activity at Margaret T. Hance Park. DPI Advisory Committee Member Eva Olivas and her organization, Phoenix Revitalization Corporation, are very much involved in the Grant Park community.
An easy way to get involved? Attend or support an Event!
Here are just a few as event season kicks into high gear:
Downtown, Grand Avenue, Roosevelt Row
Hance Park/Historic Roosevelt
A.E. England, Downtown
The Duce, Downtown
Downtown, Grand Avenue, Roosevelt Row
I also had an opportunity to attend the Central City Village Planning Committee and Evans Churchill Community Association meetings since my last communiqué to you. At the latter, Nichelle Zazueta-Bonow with the City of Phoenix Community & Economic Development Department provided a timetable on sidewalk and shade improvements for Fifth Street from the Phoenix Biomedical Campus to Roosevelt Row. This project, conceived with significant stakeholder input, will improve walkability in the neighborhood. In addition, Bob Diehl of the City of Phoenix Complete Streets Citizens Advisory Committee encouraged interested individuals to review and comment on the City’s Draft Complete Streets Policy. A “complete street” is a design concept that offers guidelines to ensure roads, sidewalks, and other streetscape elements are accessible, convenient, and safe for motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians.
The Hance Park Master Plan Design Team, comprised of internationally recognized design experts, held a series of community and stakeholder workshops to seek ideas for an improved Margaret T. Hance Park.
In other good news… Did you hear that the Phoenix Public Market was just rated the fourth best farmers’ market in America by The Daily Meal website? Also, word on the street (Jefferson to be exact) is that the crane over the Hotel Palomar came down and leasing for CityScape Residences atop the hotel will begin soon.
Historic preservation is a hot button issue for many in the community. How is this type of advocacy and leadership carrying over to other development issues?
While the City of Phoenix has a long-standing and nationally recognized ordinance supporting historic preservation, we continue to have instances where buildings that represent our past are demolished or threatened. One only needs to look at the Orpheum Theatre, Bentley Projects, Ellis Shackelford House, Winship House, and Hanny’s to see how historic properties can contribute to the richness of downtown.
Circle K wants to abandon their current store on the northeast corner of Seventh Street and Roosevelt and expand on the block south on an empty lot where a vintage warehouse once stood. Over significant neighborhood objection a year ago, Circle K rescinded their plan. The company is back with a revised plan and application for a liquor license. Councilman Michael Johnson and DPI have strongly encouraged Circle K representatives to communicate with the impacted neighborhood associations.
Why are neighborhood and downtown advocates opposed to Circle K’s expansion? Linked here are letters from numerous downtown and neighborhood groups, including several DPI partners (City of Phoenix, Downtown Phoenix Partnership, Downtown Voices Coalition, and Phoenix Community Alliance) outlining concern about crime, noise, traffic congestion, and/or lackluster building and site design at the northeast gateway into our downtown. View the proposed site plan here.
Several City-led efforts are underway that may help the situation in the future:
- Mayor Greg Stanton is seeking the advice of historic preservation advocates, urban planners, and developers with significant experience in historic rehabilitation on finding additional incentives for preservation, refining city procedures and processes to encourage preservation, and prioritizing key preservation projects citywide. I’m happy to serve on the informal panel, and I’m learning a great deal about our city’s heritage, including our “place in the sun” with nationally acclaimed post-World War II architecture.
- This spring and summer, two citizen panels examined the strengths and weaknesses of existing urban infill policies, programs, incentives, and requirements. On October 9 at the A.E. England Building in Civic Space Park, these Infill Advisory Groups and city Planning and Development Department staff will present the groups’ discussions, work plans, and Phase I recommendations. I encourage you to attend the public meeting if your schedule permits.
What do you hear from the Downtown Voices Coalition?
For over nine years, the Downtown Voices Coalition, today chaired by DPI Board Member Tim Eigo, has met on the second Saturday of each month to discuss downtown issues from a grassroots and neighborhood perspective. A diverse group of 25-plus community members attended Saturday’s meeting and their agenda was lengthy and lively (which they readily admit is usually the case).
- Richard Stanley from ASU previewed plans to move the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law from the Tempe campus to downtown Phoenix into a new Arizona Center for Law and Society on the site of the demolished Sahara/Ramada motel.
- Ray Dovalina with the City of Phoenix Street Transportation Department provided an update on the city’s move to approve a Complete Streets Policy and news of upcoming improvements on Grand Avenue and First Street between Washington and Moreland.
- Catrina Kahler of Artlink Phoenix outlined several significant organizational moves to further engrain art – and Artlink – into downtown’s revitalization. (Kahler is also publisher of DPJ)
- Sean Sweat of Thunderdome Neighborhood Association for Non-Auto Mobility outlined a street parking plan for the Evans Churchill neighborhood that is now being vetted by local stakeholders and city officials for adoption.
There are few “sounding boards” like the Downtown Voices Coalition, and the open exchange and frank debate have made for a better community.
Catch the final performances of the original Broadway musical version of Seussical this weekend as Valley Youth Theatre (VYT) concludes its two-week run at the Herberger Theater Center. Written by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty, and co-conceived by Monty Python alum Eric Idle, this family-friendly production enters the world of Dr. Seuss as young performers offer a fantastic, magical extravaganza.
In Seussical, the Cat in the Hat tells the story of an elephant named Horton who protects the infinitesimal Whos from danger while guarding an abandoned egg. A paean to friendship, loyalty, and community support, the children’s classic includes vivid costumes, full-scale staging, and enthusiastic acting by talented youngsters, some of whom may go on to performing careers.
All images courtesy Valley Youth Theatre.
If you go:
- Valley Youth Theatre
- Remaining showtimes (all at the Herberger Theater Center):
Friday, September 27 at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, September 28 at 2PM & 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, September 29 at 2 p.m.
Under the sky, ballet has a completely different feel from the formality and tension of an indoor performance. Anything can happen — wind, stars, insects, and audience all add layers of natural art to even the most carefully planned production.
Each September, Ballet Arizona continues a 15-year tradition of free outdoor community performances at parks across the Valley, this year making stops in Casa Grande, Sun City West, Goodyear, Fountain Hills, Phoenix, and Tempe. On a portable elevated stage complete with lighting and music, costumed dancers share choreography by the iconic George Balanchine, up-and-coming young artist Alejandro Cerrudo, and Ballet Arizona’s own artistic director, Ib Andersen.
On Saturday, September 28, Ballet Under the Stars comes to Steele Indian School Park at 7 p.m., and downtowners can experience a bit of the glorious uncertainty of a live outdoor performance. While the professionals warm up, it’s not uncommon to see a handful of tiny would-be dancers leaping and spinning on grass and sidewalks between lawn chairs and blankets. They’re perfectly prepared to see scenes from Andersen’s luscious Cinderella, set to music by Sergei Prokofiev and featuring fairies, cavaliers, Cinderella, and her prince.
From the classical Cinderella, en pointe in tutus, the program shifts to a contemporary work: Cerrudo’s Second to Last, commissioned by Ballet Arizona for a world premiere this past March. The Spanish-born dancer, who works with Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, cites major influence from choreographers Jiří Kylián, Ohad Naharin, and Mats Ek as well as Freddie Mercury.
“I have influences from choreographers that I don’t even like,” Cerrudo declares. “I think everybody does — I think everything that you see, touch, smell, read, see, will influence you for good or for bad. Sometimes you see something and you’re like, ‘Oh, I really need to go the opposite of that in my work, because I see how that makes me feel, or I just don’t like the aesthetics’…and then the opposite way, as we grow up…you create your idea of beauty.”
He continues, “Europe is ahead of us right now in dance, in the sense that they produce more and they’re more progressive. But…I feel like I have a little place here where I can help and promote that growth and…evolution of dance in the States very humbly.”
Second to Last was a lovely revelation at its spring performances, a sensual exploration of every possibility of movement between two dancers. “People should come and see it,” says Cerrudo earnestly, “because it’s not meant to be explained with words…[it’s] meant to be experienced.”
During Ballet Under the Stars, students from Clarendon Elementary School take the stage as Class Act, an after-school program guided by Ballet Arizona dancers in which the students choreograph and premiere a new work.
The evening ends with Balanchine’s The Four Temperaments, with music for strings and piano commissioned from Paul Hindemith by the choreographer in 1940. Three themes danced by three successive couples broaden into variations named after the four humors of the human body specified in medieval cosmology, beginning with melancholic (analytical), continuing with sanguinic (sociable) and phlegmatic (calm), and ending with choleric (ambitious).
If you can’t make it to Ballet Under the Stars, consider visiting Ballet Arizona’s huge new dance center during its grand opening on October 12 from 10:30 a.m to 2 p.m. — it includes free performances, classes, and tours with a drawing for season tickets.
- Ballet Under the Stars
- Ballet Arizona’s Cinderella – Oct. 30 through Nov. 3 with The Phoenix Symphony at Symphony Hall
- Choreographer Alejandro Cerrudo
- George Balanchine’s ballet The Four Temperaments
- The Balanchine Trust
- The Balanchine Foundation
- Ballet Arizona’s past program Director’s Choice
- Ballet Arizona’s past program All Balanchine
- Ballet Arizona’s grand opening on Oct. 12
2836 E. Washington St., Phoenix, 85034
But then there is the “visioning” meeting, where the talking, planning and exchange of ideas converge to create a long view for what could take shape in the future.
These discussions represent an exciting hands-on opportunity to help shape our downtown, and as the Hance Park Conservancy can attest, few areas are in more need of a real vision than Margaret T. Hance Park (sometime referred to as Deck Park).
Input and feedback are being gathered from all community stakeholders on the redesign of our 32-acre urban park. The goal is to define a framework and set of ideas that reposition Hance Park as a vibrant destination that adds even more value to our city.
The City of Phoenix and Hance Park Master Plan Design Team is inviting members of the public to join the conversation by participating in the Community Visioning Workshop. Everyone with ideas for the future of Hance Park is encouraged to attend.
See representatives of downtown organizations in action in photos below, and join tonight’s discussion on how to make Hance Park great.
If you go
What: Community Visioning Workshop
When: Wednesday, September 25, 6 to 8 p.m.
Where: Cutler Plotkin Jewish Heritage Center, 122 E. Culver St., Phoenix, AZ 85004
”En-Hance” based on image courtesy of City of Phoenix
DPJ’s Wire series delivers news and information straight from the source without translation.
Downtown Phoenix and Tempe Celebrate PARK(ing) Day 2013 THIS Friday, September 20th During Morning Rush Hour
Parking spaces around the globe to be temporarily reclaimed for people!
In cities around the globe, this Friday, September 20th, artists, activists and citizens will temporarily transform metered parking spaces into public parks and other social spaces, as part of an annual event called “PARK(ing) Day” during morning rush hour at two locations in downtown Phoenix and one location in downtown Tempe.
Originally invented in 2005 by Rebar, a San Francisco-based art and design studio, PARK(ing) Day challenges people to rethink the way streets are used and reinforces the need for broad-based changes to urban infrastructure.
This will be the 5th annual Park(ing) Day event in downtown Phoenix. The event is organized by Stacey Champion, community activist and Founder of the local sustainability group, Rogue Green. The first Phoenix Park(ing) Day was launched by community activist Yuri Artibise who now resides in Vancouver BC.
“This is not a day to protest, but a day to rethink how we use our public space to feel a sense of connection and community engagement within a large city. If Phoenix is to thrive, walkability and connectivity need to be important factors moving forward. Small, green, public spaces feed the soul.” says Champion.
ASU students from both the downtown Phoenix and Tempe campuses will also be taking part in the event with students Connor Descheemaker and Mitchell Bobman leading the ASU locations.
The event will take place from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. THIS Friday, September 20th.
There will be three organized morning locations:
- Main PARK(ing) Day Location - Washington St. between 1st Ave. & 2nd Ave. on south side of street – Day of Contact: Stacey – 602-788-0033
- ASU Downtown Campus - Along First Street between Taylor and Fillmore, in front of Taylor Place - Day of Contact: Connor – 480-326-6551
- ASU Tempe students – At metered parking spaces at 5th & Mill in downtown Tempe – Organized by ASU Students for the New Urbanism – Day of Contact: Mitchell – 480-254-5454
Confirmed 2013 PARKS include: Dixieland PARK with the Dixie Devils, Chalkboard PARK by Rogue Green, Percussion PARK with members of the Rhythm is Life Steel Band, Coffee with a Cop PARK, Dog PARK, Bike PARK by Phoenix Spokes People, ArchiPARK, Lounge PARK, Eco-fessional by Arizona Interfaith Power & Light, Game PARK and many more… Plus we’ll probably have a special visit by Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton!
PARK(ing) Day is an “open-source” user-generated invention created by independent groups around the globe who adapt the project to champion creative, social or political causes that are relevant to their local urban conditions. More information is available on the PARK(ing) Day website, at http://parkingday.org.