Don your favorite holiday pajamas and hop aboard Downtown’s own Urban Polar Express – the METRO Light Rail – to Civic Space Park Friday, Dec. 6 for a FREE double-feature holiday movie showing under the stars.
Grab your friends and family – and a blanket or two – to see Polar Express and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation on the big screen in the big city. Bring kids big and small for free hot cocoa, crafts and photos with Santa. (Photos are free – you can take your own or download one from Downtown Phoenix’s Facebook page.)
Food will be available for purchase.
If You Go
Where: Civic Space Park
When: Dec. 6 at 6 p.m.
Light Rail Stop: Van Buren and Central or Van Buren and First Avenue
Polar Express: Starts at 6:00 p.m., rated G
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation: starts at 8 p.m., rated PG-13
DPJ’s Wire series delivers news and information straight from the source without translation.
“Ground Cover,” a public art project by Arizona artist Ann Morton (pictured right) will be installed Friday, Dec. 6, and dedicated at 9 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 7, at a vacant lot at First and McKinley streets in downtown Phoenix.
The project temporarily will beautify a vacant lot in downtown Phoenix and provide 300 handmade blankets for homeless individuals. Mayor Greg Stanton and District 7 Councilman Michael Nowakowski will speak at the Saturday morning dedication.
The project will be located and displayed for two days. Created by Phoenix artist Ann Morton with the help of blanket makers – affectionately called “blanketeers” – from 22 states and two Canadian provinces, the 300 finished blankets will be assembled into a 116-foot-by-50-foot “ground cover” featuring a colossal image of lush desert blooms. Each of the smaller blankets measures 40 inches by 70 inches. They are made with up to 28 squares, each 10 inches by 10 inches, which serve as “pixels” of the overall image (see the rendering below).
Crews of volunteers will work with Morton to assemble the monumental blanket at the vacant lot on Dec. 6. The blanket will remain on view until 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7. After the two-day installation, the large blanket will be disassembled into smaller ones and given to agencies that serve homeless people in the city.
The “Ground Cover” public art project was commissioned by the city of Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture Public Art Program. It is supported in part by an “Our Town” grant from the National Endowment for the Arts as part of “Cultural Connections” series of temporary artworks sponsored by the city of Phoenix, the ASU Art Museum and Roosevelt Row CDC. The project is also a part of Mayor Stanton’s PHXRenews initiative to activate vacant lots and spaces in Phoenix in conjunction with Keep Phoenix Beautiful.
Images provided by City of Phoenix
Last week DPJ provided a step-by-step overview of the process behind the choice of Roosevelt Housing Associates (RHA) “The Row” proposal for developing the property along 2nd Street north of Roosevelt that also includes the historic Leighton G. Knipe House. City staff has requested that the Downtown, Aviation and Redevelopment Subcommittee recommend City Council authorization to enter into a development agreement with RHA.
There was some initial community concern raised regarding aspects of “The Row” proposal, so staff’s initial recommendation to approve was withdrawn from the Subcommittee’s November 6 meeting agenda.
As stated in an updated report submitted to the Subcommittee, this gave both city staff and RHA time to meet with representatives from the community to gain input and answer questions about the project. In the past month, they met with community groups, including the Downtown Voices Coalition, Evans Churchill Community Association, and Garfield Organization. Additional meetings were held with the leadership from Roosevelt Action Association, Roosevelt Row Community Development Corporation, and the Roosevelt Row Merchants Association. The City also responded to and offered to meet with individuals who contacted the City directly regarding the proposed development.
Following a dialogue with City staff and RHA at their neighborhood meeting, the Evans Churchill Community Association drafted a letter of support for the project, stating, “In a neighborhood that is both vibrant and in transition, such as Evans Churchill, careful consideration is needed to prepare a development that contributes to the community in a meaningful way, is financially sound, and can be successfully accomplished. The Roosevelt Housing Associates proposal meets those objectives. We look forward to engaging with the developer to ensure their project brings maximum benefits to our neighborhood and the surrounding downtown community.”
Based on the feedback, RHA agreed to make several changes to their proposal to enhance its appeal to the community and help integrate the project successfully into the existing neighborhood. The changes include:
1) develop approximately 15-20 percent of the units as market rate, with no age or income restrictions, creating a diverse, mixed income project;
2) require all tenants to sign an affidavit acknowledging they are moving into a vibrant arts district;
3) develop the street-level units as live-work artist studios;
4) actively market the project to artists; and
5) dedicate a portion of the common area space for local artists to prominently display their works.
Pending City Council authorization, City staff and Roosevelt Housing Associates will continue to work with neighborhood groups throughout the design process.
Event Parking Concerns
Another pressing concern for the community surrounding the proposed development was the need to develop additional public parking solutions to support the increasing number of events and other activities in the area. To ameliorate this concern, City staff have made a recommendation that the net proceeds from the sale of the property be applied to the planning and development of a district parking solution for the Evans Churchill/Roosevelt Row area, east of Central Avenue and north of Roosevelt Street. City staff will work with the community, property owners, business owners and stakeholders in the coming months to evaluate and develop options, and will return to the Subcommittee early next year with specific recommendations to address the parking issue.
The Downtown, Aviation and Redevelopment Subcommittee will meet again on Wednesday, December 4, to review the changes to the proposal and make a recommendation to the whole council to proceed with negotiations with RHA on the development of the proposal. The meeting is open to the public.
If You Go
What: Phoenix City Council Meeting of Downtown, Aviation and Development Subcommittee
Where: Phoenix City Hall, 1st Floor Atrium, Assembly Rooms A, B, & C, 200 West Washington Street
When: Wednesday, December 4, 9:30 a.m.
Thanks to the efforts of Jill Johnson (Program Manager) and Doctor Diane Facinelli, students who participate in the course are steeped like tea bags in everything “downtown Phoenix” through a combination of tours and presentations by local historians, business people, city officials, arts community representatives, local community development wizards and urban sustainability advocates.
The goal is to break down any myths and misapprehensions young people who are new to downtown may have about their surroundings, and to give them access to the people on the ground who are transforming our urban core.
The course is divided into six areas, including Downtown Phoenix History; Entrepreneurship & Local Business; Governance, Politics and Activism; Places, Spaces and Adaptive Re-Use; Promoting Arts & Culture; and Sustainable and Vital Living.
Local experts in each area are brought in to meet with students and share their insights about how and why they do what they do and to show the impact they’re having. Students are not only encouraged to get involved, they are introduced to the very people and organizations that can get them started bringing their own passions and skills to bear on making the urban core vibrant.
“Incoming freshmen are sometimes disappointed to find themselves in downtown Phoenix versus the ASU campus in Tempe,” says Jill Johnson, the “connector” who makes the class viable and relevant. “We use ‘Community Encounters’ to dispel their fears, to show them what is happening right outside their student bubble, and to educate them about the wealth of opportunities they have available to them in downtown.”
The value of growing this connection between young ASU students and the downtown community is in reaching a potential new generation of residents who will want to live, work and play in downtown and create sustained vibrancy on our streets.
Jim McPherson, co-author with J. Seth Anderson and Suad Mahmuljin of Downtown Phoenix History, opens the course by sharing the historic context of the city’s evolution. “Students read our book before class,” said McPherson, “and then we take them on a combination bus and walking tour that enables them to see some of the areas featured in the book. We show them how historic places are contributing to the contemporary landscape of the city.”
“The purpose of the class is to provide students with variety of entry points for them to become active, engaged urban citizens,” said Johnson. “The students benefit from being exposed to the rich variety of experiences available to them in downtown, and the community benefits from the talent and energy the students can bring to making the best downtown possible. It’s as they say, a ‘win-win’ situation.”
Find out what this years’ students learned and how the class has impacted their perceptions of downtown at ENCOUNTER THIS! Community Encounters Showcase. At this free public event, groups of students who have worked together will show the community what they’ve learned and share how it has changed their perspective.
If You Go
When: Thursday, December 5, 7:00 pm
Where: A.E. England Building, Civic Space Park
Cost: FREE to public, but reservations are appreciated. Reserve your space now.
Contact: Jill.Johnson@asu.edu; 602-496-0557.
In September, City of Phoenix staff approved moving forward with the negotiations with Roosevelt Housing Associates for the “disposition and redevelopment of City-owned property on Second Street between Roosevelt and Portland Street.”
Upon hearing this decision, there was a flurry of rumor and reaction that swept through the downtown community. We decided to dig deeper and get the facts straight about the underlying RFP (request for proposals) process and how the decision was made to move forward with Roosevelt Housing Associates.
Parsing the Process
In September 2012, the City of Phoenix Community and Economic Development Department (CED) issued the “Notice of Request for Proposals to Develop or Redevelop Urban and/or Mixed-Use Development Projects on Property Within Downtown Phoenix” (RFP-CED-2012-UMD01).
The RFP is identified as a two (2)-step process:
- Step One is a review of qualifications based on an executive project summary submitted describing the proposed project.
- If the Step One submittal is accepted and approved to move on to Step Two, such approval will be provided in writing by the City. Step Two is a review of a full RFP proposal, including specific business terms.
The RFP for the historic Leighton G. Knipe House (1025 N. 2nd Street) and surrounding area (RFP-CED-2012-UMD01-A4 – Addendum 4) was issued on May 9, 2013.
The deadline for Addendum 4 proposals was 12 noon, June 7, 2013. Four proposals were submitted:
- DAVIS (Mike Davis is an owner of an adjacent property)
- Rainey Development LLC/Butler Housing Company Inc. (Wayne Rainey is an owner of an adjacent property)
- Roosevelt Housing Associates
- Urban Sol Development LLC
The Step One Review panel convened on June 13, 2013. Four individuals served on this evaluation panel:
- Rob Cox – Project Management Assistant, CED, City of Phoenix
- Don Keuth – President, Phoenix Community Alliance
- Eric Johnson – Economic Development Program Manager, CED, City of Phoenix
- Kevin Weight – Senior Planner, Historic Preservation Office, City of Phoenix
During both the Step One and Step Two reviews, scoring was reached using the consensus scoring methodology. How does the consensus scoring methodology work? Each evaluator independently reads and scores the proposals prior to the evaluation team meeting. This process affords each evaluator the opportunity to independently analyze each proposal, make notes relating to observations, strengths and weaknesses, and questions regarding a vendor’s proposal.
The individual evaluators then come together at the evaluation team meeting. This meeting is designed to allow the team to arrive at a consensus. Consensus is reached through discussion and debate that allows each evaluator to inform the team of the rationale for his/her individual scores and/or correct misconceptions of the individual evaluators. Once a consensus is reached, the results are documented with supporting comments. This document becomes the formal evaluation results representing the recommendation of the evaluation team.
At the conclusion of Step One Review panel, two proposals scored high enough for the panel to recommend that they advance to Step Two of the review process: DAVIS and Roosevelt Housing Associates.
Upon review of this recommendation, city management and staff made the decision to send all four proposals on to Step Two in the process, which enabled all four of the original applicants to submit a more in-depth, complete proposal.
“In the interest of making this process as comprehensive as possible, we elected to allow all four proposals to advance and allow each proposer to submit their best ideas in a detailed proposal,” said John Chan, Phoenix’s Community and Economic Development Director. “The second step of this process provided the opportunity to assemble a diverse panel with broad representation including neighborhood and business community leadership in the evaluation process.”
The deadline for the Step Two proposals was August 30, 2013. All four of the original applicants submitted more detailed proposals.
The Step Two review panel convened on September 18, 2013. Six individuals served on this evaluation panel:
- Dianne Barker – Board Member, Roosevelt Action Association
- Molly Ryan Carson – VP Development, Ryan Companies US, Inc.
- Michelle Dodds – Historic Preservation Officer, City of Phoenix
- Cory Kincaid – Board Member, Evans Churchill Community Association
- Jeremy Legg – Economic Development Program Manager, CED, City of Phoenix
- Dan Klocke – VP Development, Downtown Phoenix Partnership
- Jeff Moloznik – VP Development, RED Development
The panel reached a consensus to recommend moving forward with the Roosevelt Housing Associates proposal. Their proposal includes building a mixture of live/work housing for artists, senior housing, and workforce housing, and redeveloping the historic Knipe House as a craft brewery and art gallery.
On September 20, 2013 Scott Sumners, CED Deputy Director, made formal recommendation to John Chan to move forward with Roosevelt Housing Associates and enter into negotiations for the disposition and redevelopment of city-owned property on Second Street between Roosevelt and Portland Streets. The recommendation was approved on the same day.
Where is the process now?
As of today, the negotiations between the City and Roosevelt Housing Associates are in process.
We will continue to delve into more details as the negotiations and project moves forward.