DPJ’s Wire series delivers news and information straight from the source without translation.
Valley Metro Rail Connects Riders to Arts and Culture Destinations
Light rail connects people to arts and culture. From puppet theatres and intimate jazz venues to big-name shows at US Airways Center, residents can feed their artistic appetites beginning with a train ride. Explore the cultural playground that exists along the light rail line, from popular venues like ASU Gammage and Phoenix Center for the Arts to unique destination gems like the Great Arizona Puppet Theatre and Eisendrath House.
This weekend is the perfect opportunity to use light rail to explore arts and local culture. Artlink Inc.‘s 26th Annual Art Detour is March 8-9. This is the longest running community arts event in downtown Phoenix with more than 100 arts destinations located within walking distance of light rail. A complimentary shuttle will also be available. “Detour-ists” are invited to visit artists’ private working studios not typically open for viewing, explore Pop-Up Gallery exhibits exclusively planned for Art Detour, and discover the colorful mural scene on walls and buildings throughout the downtown area.
The new Valley Metro Arts & Culture Guide features 50 cultural destinations located along the light rail line. The guides will be available at all of the shuttle locations during Art Detour. Riders can also find them at many chambers of commerce, libraries and online at valleymetro.org.
Click here to download the Arts & Culture Guide.
Image courtesy of Valley Metro
DPJ’s Wire series delivers news and information straight from the source without translation.
Valley Metro Asking Students to Design Bus and Light Rail Train Artwork
Calling all high school students with a flair for art! Valley Metro is kicking off the 14th Annual Design a Transit Wrap Contest, asking students to create original artwork with a positive transit theme. The winning design will be featured on a bus and light rail train wrap for an entire year.
1. Download the contest flyer, art template and application.
2. Use the art template to create an original design.
3. All entries should feature a positive transit message.
4. Submit artwork by February 14, 2014.
The Design a Transit Wrap contest is part of a larger effort to spread awareness about the benefits of public transit. Click here for more information on Valley Metro’s education programs.
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
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.
It may not be immediately visible to the casual eye, but there is a diverse cross section of people and organizations who are busy creating a thriving root system to support long-term urban livability in Phoenix.
They work both independently and in collaboration to create a sustainable urban landscape that thrives on walkable neighborhoods; entrepreneurial local businesses; an arts and culture suffused environment; innovative mixed-use development, and access to healthcare. Over the next several months, DPJ will take a closer look at the people and projects that are transforming downtown Phoenix into a sustainable 21st century city.
Consider Sustainable Communities Collaborative (SCC) a primary root. Through its partnerships, SCC is making progress in areas as wide-ranging as housing, community development, public health and transportation. Because of the success of this unique collaborative, the Living Cities Network, a Washington, D.C.-based philanthropic collaborative of the world’s largest foundations and financial institutions, met in Phoenix last week for the very first time to learn more about the innovative work being accomplished by SCC locally.
The Sustainable Communities Collaborative is a unique non-profit partnership of thirty-five entities powered by a $20 million fund privately financed by the Raza Development Fund and the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC). Included in the collaborative are lenders; city officials from Phoenix, Tempe and Mesa and their staffs; financial institutions; local foundations; public health professionals; built environment professionals; private businesses; and community groups. Through the fund, the SCC mission is to create an economic catalyst for Phoenix, Mesa and Tempe connected to development along the METRO Light Rail, which means putting into place critical pieces, including underlying policies and tangible outcomes, to complete the sustainability puzzle.
Shannon Scutari, SCC’s co-founder and director explains the significant role for the collaborative as “keeping the conversation going.”
“It’s our job to help connect the dots,” Scutari said. “We break down the development process into easily consumable bite-size steps that create positive outcomes for everyone involved.”
“SCC,” she continues, “provides the glue between builders, city officials and staff, the developers and the neighborhood groups.”
To be truly sustainable, SCC members know that urban growth has to move beyond suburban sprawl, boom-and-bust models to a new paradigm that embraces infill development; increased density with mixed-use development and mixed income housing; access to public transportation; community healthcare; locally-spawned, entrepreneurial businesses; and the incorporation of the arts at every level of public life.
“This is one of the hardest landscapes to get funding in place,” said Scutari. “It has to be multi-faceted to get off the ground.”
“If it wasn’t for the collaborative members doing all the behind-the-scenes heavy lifting – the foundational work – we wouldn’t stand a chance in being attractive to companies, investors and developers who are looking at the Phoenix core as a place to invest in innovative ways.” said Scutari.
SCC Members participate on steering committees focused on policy areas that are most important for redefining urban vibrancy: housing, public health, community development, financial tools, and transportation. Scutari points out the importance of “setting the table” to make this new paradigm effective, saying, “It’s about turning public policy into public action.”
Scutari praises Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton’s work in making the SCC successful. “A tremendous amount of credit should go to the City of Phoenix and Mayor Stanton for making infill, adaptive reuse and transit-oriented development a priority. The mayor has been a real leader in this space.”
She also notes that Metro Light Rail has provided an unprecedented opportunity for Mayor Stanton, Mayor Scott Smith of Mesa, and Mayor Mark Mitchell of Tempe and their staffs to collaborate across city lines in ways that maximize resources and create a winning outcome for each community. Listen to their comments in the video below.
SCC and others who are creating a new vision for a livable, sustainable Phoenix are just beginning to make a difference through the development of projects like The Newton at Camelback Rd. and Third Ave. and Union at Roosevelt at 1st Ave. and Roosevelt St., to name just a few.
Additionally, SCC has been involved with innovative partnerships with SeedSpot, Co+Hoots and LocalFirst to support commercial ventures connected to the light rail line that will attract and create jobs and economic opportunities. And while the impacts are only just beginning to be felt, the relationships being developed are creating a strong root system of trust and success that bodes well for the future of our urban core.