On Saturday, March 1, Artlink Inc., in partnership with Downtown Phoenix Inc. hosted the Art d’Core Gala at Crescent Ballroom, which featured Mayor Greg Stanton giving his first “Celebrate Downtown” address. The event was sponsored by CityScape, APS, Phoenix Convention Center, Valley Metro, 12 News, City of Phoenix Aviation Department, Support Sky Harbor Coalition, United Phoenix Fire Fighters, and Gammage & Burnham Attorneys at Law.
Despite the spring rain, more than 500 Phoenicians attended the event that celebrated the contribution of the arts and local culture to the resurgence of downtown, adding color and vibrancy to our urban core. It served as a festive kick-off to Artlink’s Art Detour 26, March 8-9, 2014.
Below is the transcript of the Mayor’s address.
Celebrate Downtown Address
Saturday, March 1, 2014
Special thank you to Catrina Kahler, the Artlink Board Chair who organized this incredible event. I want to thank Downtown Phoenix, Inc. Let me tell you about what they did just recently. When our Legislature passed S.B. 1062, DPI spoke out, and joined an overwhelming majority in our community by writing Governor Brewer a letter asking her to veto that terrible legislation. DPI stood up for Phoenix’s anti-discrimination ordinance, because we all know that an inclusive community is a stronger community.
I’m so happy to be with you to Celebrate Downtown – because there is a lot to celebrate. Downtown is back! Downtown is certainly alive tonight.
“…the fabric of a vibrant community isn’t any set of buildings. It’s the people. It’s residents, artists, entrepreneurs, restaurateurs. It’s you.”
That’s such good news – and for many people around the city and Valley, that may be unexpected news.
That’s because for so many decades, downtown Phoenix really struggled. Once grand buildings at the heart of our city were left to deteriorate or were torn down. Busy streets fell silent as new development lured businesses and customers. Eventually, people moved away from downtown too.
Many in our community sought to change that.
In the 90s, new development brought people back – at least for events. But even great venues like America West Arena and Bank One Ballpark weren’t enough. I came to the City Council more than a decade ago, and at that time, we pushed for forward-thinking investments. Investments that made the Biomedical Campus, T-Gen and ASU Downtown possible.
In 2000, the entire city took a risk, voting for and uniting behind Light Rail. That made it easier for everyone to get to our downtown.
Finally, after so many years of hard work, we were making progress.
Then, the recession hit. Arizona took it hard. Downtown Phoenix too. Those investment dollars came to a screeching halt.
Those times were tough, but for all of the heartache, there was also a silver lining. . . It gave us
time. Time to pause and really think about the kind of downtown we wanted. Did we have the right people at the table?
Because as far as we had come – deep down, all of us knew we could do even better.
Yes, constructing those “signature buildings” was important. But we had to do more. We had to show that downtown can be a neighborhood too. A community with life. And the fabric of a vibrant community isn’t any set of buildings. It’s the people. It’s residents, artists, entrepreneurs, restaurateurs. It’s you.
And it also gave us time to understand that our downtown doesn’t have to look or feel the same as downtowns in other cities. The urban cores of other big cities were shaped a century ago, and are chained to the ideas of the past.
“…our city’s relative youth is one of our greatest strengths. That’s because the people in this community, the people in this room – we are in control of downtown’s destiny.”
We’re not. When downtowns across the country lost their residents to the suburbs after World War II, Phoenix was too young to have a big downtown. And too many of the buildings that were here were torn down.
We have to learn from those mistakes.
But like it or not, much of downtown Phoenix today is a fresh canvas.
Phoenix is a big city. But we’re still a young city. But our city’s relative youth is one of our greatest strengths. That’s because the people in this community, the people in this room – we are in control of downtown’s destiny.
The decisions we make – not me, we – will determine our future. This won’t be shaped by outside forces. As long as I’m your Mayor, it will be shaped by you.
We will realize our shared vision for downtown: a vibrant, walkable, livable community where education, the arts, and commerce thrive.
That’s the downtown that works for us. . . all of us.
Getting there means we have to break free from the old way of doing things.
Re-organize the decision-making process, and build one that fostered teamwork and creativity. Create a process that includes everyone.
When I ran for Mayor, I said I’d make that a priority so you would have more than a seat at the table. You’d have a voice in making decisions.
Downtown Phoenix, Inc.
This is what Downtown Phoenix, Inc. is for.
“…for the first time – the arts community, downtown residents, Downtown Phoenix Partnership, Phoenix Community Alliance, and businesses large and small are all working together on the same page.”
We looked at how other cities with growing and urban downtowns operated – and we took the best of their ideas.
In D-P-I, we have a new structure that coordinates downtown’s activities much more efficiently. But most important – D-P-I brings everyone together. We have great community representation on its board in Cindy Dach, Tim Eigo, and Kimber Lanning. And in Dave Kreitor, we have a leader who understands every part of downtown.
This new unity means that – for the first time – the arts community, downtown residents, Downtown Phoenix Partnership, Phoenix Community Alliance, and businesses large and small are all working together on the same page.
D-P-I gives us the tools we need to use every part of downtown to create new things, big and small.
And D-P-I is working with Roosevelt Row and many others who have already helped create a sheer number of events beyond what we could have ever imagined just a few years ago. Think about it:
• The first Viva Phoenix with more than 50 bands coming next weekend
Every week, something unique is happening to bring life to our downtown. And we are getting ready to showcase downtown Phoenix on an international stage by hosting the Super Bowl.
It will bring in hundreds of thousands of people to our downtown each night in the days leading up to the game. But it can only be successful if each of you is at the table and help as we plan those events.
That’s precisely what Downtown Phoenix, Inc. is all about.
It’s about the everyday energy we feel in our community.
We know how important that is because we all remember when too often this area felt more like a ghost town than a downtown.
Urban, Walkable Downtown
I remember just a couple of years ago going to Lola’s coffee on a Sunday afternoon. There was hardly anyone around. A few weeks ago when I was there it hit me – it was full, and so was Pita Jungle next door. There were people walking and biking, relaxing, eating, walking dogs.
That’s the future we all hope for: urban, walkable, and multi-modal.
We’ve done a lot of things to move downtown in that direction.
In 2011, Phoenix passed a new Downtown Form Code that set new rules for development, and tried to direct the street experience.
That was a good first step. When I took office, though, I thought we could do more – especially for pedestrians.
We took action, making big changes that went into effect just last year.
And wow – for the first time – nearly every downtown street is a designated pedestrian street. Here’s why that’s important.
• New construction now must include ground-level activation, and provide shade for sidewalks. Every single property has to be walkable.
• Apartment buildings – they all have to include bike racks. High-rise office buildings –must have showers for those who want to bike to work.
• And though it has been a long time coming, our bike share program finally is nearing the end of testing and will be rolling out soon.
“That’s the future we all hope for: urban, walkable, and multi-modal.”
With the right projects, we can capitalize on that progress. The City of Phoenix has put out an R-F-P to make new and better use of property at Central and Van Buren so we can advance multi-use centers that bring in new residents.
We are working on a new Complete Streets Plan that represents an entirely new approach to how we design and build our streets. It recognizes the fundamental idea that every street should accommodate pedestrians, bikes, transit, and … yes, even cars too.
The plan may not be done yet, but we’re already getting to work. We’ve already started a few new road diets to make our community more walkable.
The Grand Avenue folks approached us with a good idea: use new paint to narrow Grand Avenue and allow plants, parks and other things in the right of way. Create more walkable space, let restaurants use the space for seating.
We got it done in about six months – record-breaking time that shows we’re serious. If you haven’t been to Grand Avenue, please, go check it out.
We did the same thing on First Street from Pierce all the way up to Hance Park. It’s temporary and not perfect, but it’s a huge improvement.
We’re re-thinking one-way streets, and exploring whether it would be better to have two-way streets in some places instead. Yes, one way streets serve a purpose; they make it easier to people to get in and out. But two-way streets are better for neighborhoods, and better for small business owners.
At the same time we’re transforming our streets, we’re turning dilapidated buildings into new businesses and homes.
Through our adaptive reuse program, the City is waiving its fees and making it easier for those who want to find new use for old buildings.
That’s been incredibly powerful in the Warehouse District – where we’re sending the message that, yes, you too are a part of downtown.
All along Grant Street south of Lincoln: WebPT, the Herberger Institute of Design, Michael Levine’s buildings. The Press Room on Madison.
In other parts of downtown, great place like the Public Market Café, Angel’s Trumpet, and Pomo were possible in part because of the adaptive reuse program. Two projects I’m most excited about are in the works: the renovations of Luhrs Tower and the Hotel Monroe. These historic structures have been under-used for years – but will soon add new life to downtown.
Hub for Education, Entrepreneurs and Commerce
As we preserve the buildings of our past, we’re also creating new centers for education, entrepreneurs and commerce.
We’re supporting new K-12 schools – good schools – in our urban areas because downtown must be a place for families with children too.
At same time, we’re becoming a hotspot for higher learning There were so few students in downtown just a decade ago. By 2020, there will be more than 17-thousand. That’s exciting.
Like any big experiment, there have been a few bumps in the road. But with each project, it gets better and better.
And now, the highest-ranked education opportunities in Arizona are – or soon will be – offered in downtown Phoenix.
• U of A’s medical school, which will open one of the top cancer centers in the country next year.
• ASU’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law – one of the top 10 public law schools in the nation – will move downtown in 2016.
And these aren’t the only places spurring new, innovative ideas.
Co-working spaces are booming. Co+Hoots is already at its limit and expanding.
“…we finally have engaged residents who have created a fantastic community.”
That makes a difference all over the Valley, and all over Arizona. The activity in a strong downtown can shape the economy of our entire region.
In north Phoenix, up near Desert Ridge, we’re building a massive, thousand-acre biomedical corridor.
It will also create new jobs – good jobs – but it never would have been possible without the success of the Downtown Biomedical Campus.
A strong downtown contributes everywhere because no other part of our region can claim such a unique and vibrant integration of residents, academics, art, government, commerce and entrepreneurs.
Downtown Phoenix is truly one of a kind.
Just two years ago, the conversation we were having was about how downtown was on the brink of turning the corner.
Today, it finally has.
And the conversation we continue to have is, “How we can best work together to make downtown even stronger?”
There’s a lot of work to do. As I said earlier, in many ways, we’re working with a fresh canvas. Yes, we’ve got a few old buildings we need to save. We have empty lots we need to change. But we finally have engaged residents who have created a fantastic community.
I can’t read the future, but I can tell you where I think downtown Phoenix is headed.
It will build on its role as the transit hub of the Valley. And one day Light Rail will integrate the areas south of downtown as part of the community, as well as the Capitol Mall and beyond.
We will be home to thousands more entrepreneurs and start ups.
The arts community will be firmly established.
New residents will be able to choose from a wide variety of housing options.
And those who want to ride their bike or walk to work or a restaurant – and one day, a grocery store – will find it easier than ever before.
I guarantee you it will not always be easy. There will be a lot of debate and even some mistakes along the way. That’s what makes downtown unique. Each of you is smart, creative and engaged. We’ll get it right, but only if you hold the City’s feet to the fire and demand excellence.
We’ve known each other and worked together for many years now. I’m incredibly proud of what you’ve done to shape our community. That’s why it means so much to me when you’ve called me “the downtown Mayor.”
I love downtown because it belongs to you. It belongs to everyone.
Let’s continue to make it as incredible as we know it can be.
Photos by Christopher Boats O’Shana. Courtesy of Artlink Inc.
As an independent chronicler of all things downtown, DPJ takes a comprehensive approach to covering the urban living movement in Phoenix and, with this Conversation series, spotlighting the people who make it move.
Like many of the people who are dedicated to creating a vital downtown for Phoenix, Mo Stein wears a variety of hats. Currently he is an architect with HKS, Inc., and the chairman of the leadership committee for MyPlanPhoenix. Additionally, he is chair of the Phoenix Community Alliance (PCA), an organization of business leaders with a mission to create a dynamic downtown for Phoenix. He serves on the Downtown Phoenix, Inc. board of directors in that capacity. His involvement in downtown Phoenix has been ongoing for nearly 30 years.
We sat down with Mo at the Phoenix Public Market Cafe, one of his favorite spots, to talk about his longtime involvement with the PCA. We were interested to hear his insights on the changes he’s seen during that time and to learn a little about his perspective on what it takes to build a truly great downtown core.
When asked about the significant milestones that have helped contribute to a vital downtown, Mo pointed to the work done by the PCA that laid the groundwork for the development of projects such as the Arizona Center and CityScape, and praised the early commitment of Jerry Colangelo in creating major sports venues in downtown. “Jerry’s commitment, in terms of sports in downtown, was significant. He put a sword in the sand that this what what we needed to do and he made it happen.”
He also pointed to the strategic plan for downtown that the Phoenix Community Alliance created in the early 2000′s. “We believed it was critical to have a credible, business-driven plan for downtown that would excite people and that could be implemented. We raised $750,000 to fund development of the plan and handed it to the city.”
“The most important lesson we learned,” he continued, “was the need to build teams. In downtown, there are lots of constituencies and we have to respect all of those constituencies. It’s not just about the people who work in big buildings with their names on them, downtown has to be a place for people who don’t have their names on buildings and who work in small places, but are making a big contribution to the life and fabric of the city.”
Stein believes that an important next step for downtown development involves making “a place at the table for everyone. The investment we need in downtown is not just financial, it’s personal. There needs to be a lot of lifting to make it work, both big and small, and we’re all in it together.” For him, making a place for everyone means supporting small business as well as big business. “If we’re really tired of empty storefronts downtown, let’s fill them with people who want to be in them.”
One way of doing that, from Stein’s perspective, would be to streamline the process for getting a building permit in downtown. “Let’s draw a circle around downtown from 7th Avenue to 7th Street and from about Jackson to McDowell and then let’s guarantee that within that circle you can get a building permit within four weeks. Let’s put our money where our mouth is.”
When asked why he believes that a vibrant downtown is so important he talked about the hundreds of conversations he’s had with people throughout the city. “Every city needs a special place and that special place has to be downtown. Everyone we ask believes that. Downtown is the heart of the city and if the heart doesn’t work, the city doesn’t work.”
Phoenix Community Alliance is now an affiliate of Downtown Phoenix, Inc. (DPI) and Stein sees this as a good move. DPI provides what Stein calls, “a clarity of message about the development of downtown. The city needs this private partnership to thrive.” When asked about his role with PCA and DPI, he described himself as a connector. “Bringing people and ideas together is what I do.” He added, “before Downtown Phoenix, Inc., if someone wanted to get involved, it wasn’t clear where they could go. Downtown Phoenix, Inc. clarifies that for people. If you want to get involved, this is how to do it.”
Truly a “citizen planner,” Mo Stein understands that a strong city plan needs broad-based citizen participation in order to succeed. Interested citizens can participate in several ways, including membership in Phoenix Community Alliance, and participation in MyPlanPhoenix, an online city initiative to develop the next general plan for Phoenix. As chair of the leadership committee of MyPlanPhoenix, Stein is proud that over 13,000 people have weighed in on the website and in public meetings so far with their ideas of what Phoenix needs. The interim report for MyPlanPhoenix was published online last week, but there is plenty of time between now and the publication of the final plan in February 2015 for everyone to weigh in with their ideas for how to make downtown a vibrant special place, and the heart of our city.
With all of his involvement in helping to nurture a vibrant downtown, Stein doesn’t have as much time to practice architecture as he had in the past, but as he tells his architecture students, “the best thing we can learn from a design education is how to solve really tough problems.” His dedication to building an extraordinary downtown lets him put these skills to excellent use.
MyPlanPHX combines an online website and community outreach meetings to provide an opportunity for residents of Phoenix to help shape the future of Phoenix through two very important projects: the General Plan update and planning for the communities along the light rail line (ReinventPHX).
The General Plan is the long-range planning guide for the city. It addresses a variety of issues, including neighborhoods, sustainability, public facilities, transportation, and many more. MyPlanPhoenix provides residents with the opportunity to listen and collaborate with one another about what they love about Phoenix now and what they hope to create for the future. The website and community outreach meetings began in April 2012, and more than 13,000 Phoenicians have contributed to date.
The interim report for MyPlanPHX is now available. Check out the executive summary, which provides an overview of public feedback, including the Five Big Ideas that everyone agrees are the guiding principles for building the Phoenix we want. Want to read the entire Interim Report and Community Update? Download the PDF here.
DPJ’s Wire series delivers news and information straight from the source without translation.
Applications Now Being Taken for High Schoolers to Attend UA College of Medicine – Phoenix’s Med-Start Program
Teens Get an Early Taste of Health Professions at Summer Program
High school students interested in the health sciences are invited to apply to the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix Med-Start summer program.
The Office of Admissions and Recruitment at the College is proud to expand the program based on many years of success; the Phoenix Med-Start experience began in 2004. The 11th-annual program is designed to encourage and inspire teen-agers to explore their interest in the health professions and is open to students currently in ninth, 10th, 11th and 12thgrades. Each of the three Med-Start Phoenix summer sessions include hands-on activities, field trips, community service projects, simulation and related lab experiences, culminating projects and lectures from medical students, faculty and community members.
Each two-week session will highlight healthcare themes: scientific research, health-care needs and the health-care team.
“Our goal with the program expansion is to broaden our reach into the community and we will accomplish this by hosting nearly 100 students over the summer months,” said Tara Cunningham, EdD, assistant dean for admissions and recruitment for the UA College of Medicine – Phoenix.
You can learn more by visiting phoenixmed.arizona.edu/medstart. Applications are due March 3.
Under the revamped program, students in their first two years of high school who are interested in learning more about health care will be introduced to the health-care team, exploring the many occupations by learning from physicians, physician assistants, nurses and other in the health-care community.
High School juniors and seniors will have two options for Med-Start – one exploring scientific research and its importance in health care and the other in health-care delivery, including rural health, public health and primary care specialties.
Several thousand students have participated in Med-Start since 1969 when it was developed on the UA College of Medicine’s Tucson campus to improve health care in rural and economically disadvantaged areas and to increase the number of underrepresented health-care professionals in Arizona. An additional group of high school students will attend the Med-Start residential program on the UA campus in Tucson.
Med-Start began as an initiative under UA College of Medicine Founding Dean Merlin K. “Monte” DuVal, MD. The late Dr. DuVal probably is best remembered for his role in shaping the fledgling College, providing support for numerous programs and initiatives that have contributed to recognition of the College as one of the top medical schools in the West. Generous gifts from family and friends established The Merlin K. “Monte” DuVal Memorial Med-Start Endowment, which pays tribute to the founding dean while supporting this vital program.
In 1969, just after the College opened its doors to its first class of medical students, Dr. DuVal helped establish the Med-Start program, lending his support to a group of idealistic and innovative minority medical students who championed the cause. These students included three who later completed their medical degrees at the UA.
DPJ’s Wire series delivers news and information straight from the source without translation.
HELP FOR BUSINESS ENTREPRENEURS AT PHOENIX PUBLIC LIBRARY
“hive @ central” – a discovery space for business entrepreneurs, located on the second floor of Burton Barr Central Library at 1221 N. Central Ave., will host 5 free workshops in February.
10 a.m. – 1 p.m. – Saturday, Feb.1
SCORE volunteers help you get the inside scoop about what’s going on in today’s marketplace. How do you compete?
Graphic Design Guidelines
11 a.m. – 1 p.m. – Friday, Feb.7
ASU’s Annette Fuentes will teach the basic principles of design and the proper way to apply them to various platforms.
Technology in Startups
11 a.m. – 1 p.m. – Friday, Feb. 14
ASU’s Neetu Rao will introduce tools to develop leads, target the right people and leverage your network.
Introduction to Finding Funders: Webinar for Nonprofits
6 – 8 p.m. – Wednesday, Feb. 19
This webinar will introduce you to an e-resource (available at Central Library) to develop targeted lists of foundations that will match your organization’s funding needs. This program has limited seating; call 602-262-4636 to reserve your space.
Lean LaunchPadTM: ASU Rapid Cycle 1 | Pitch Presentations
11 a.m. – 1 p.m. – Friday, Feb. 21
Learn to use the lean startup method and the Business Model Canvas to develop, refine and iterate a value proposition and business model. Presented by ASU’s Brent Sebold.