Local First Arizona
Saturday, November 15 is an important day for all Phoenicians as we get a sneak peek into the City’s draft General Plan Update, a document that upon review and approval by our elected officials and voters will impact how our city moves forward in the next ten years. For those of us who live, work, study, and play downtown, it’s a double dose of importance because one of the five key themes of the document is, drum roll please, “Create an Even More Vibrant Downtown.” So many who provided input – from all eight council districts over the past year and a half – concluded that a strong downtown is essential for a strong Phoenix, a strong region, and a strong Arizona.
So I urge you to mark your calendar and plan to attend the PlanPHX 2014 Summit, Saturday, November 15, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Phoenix City Hall, First Floor, 200 W. Washington St. Mayor Greg Stanton, Members of Council, city staff, and the PlanPHX Leadership Committee, comprised of several friends of DPI, including Mo Stein, Carol Poore, and Sandra Ferniza of PCA and Kimber Lanning of Local First Arizona, have planned a rigorous agenda and series of workshops for participants:
- Creating an Even More Vibrant Downtown (I’ll be moderating this session)
- Creating Phoenix’s Healthy Food System
- How to Maintain an Active Neighborhood Organization
- How to Organize Your Neighborhood
- It Starts with a Plan
- Making the General Plan Happen
- Strengthening our Local Economy
- Tech + Transit: Moving Phoenix Forward
Prior to Saturday, spend some time reviewing supplemental planning documents that will work side-by-side with the General Plan Update document. What especially tickles your fancy or raises your eyebrows or causes you to lie awake at night? Only you will know unless you voice your opinion:
- Bicycle Master Plan
- Complete Streets Policy
- Comprehensive Downtown Transportation Plan
- Parklet Program
- Tree and Shade Master Plan
- Walkable Urbanism Code
I understand that’s a lot of bullet points, and a lot of reading material behind each one of them, but they’re all so important to consider and act upon to help Phoenix gain its proper place among other major cities in the Western U.S., nationwide, and yes internationally.
During the past 18 months, I’ve had the pleasure of sitting down with hundreds of individuals and attending dozens of different neighborhood and community association meetings in the downtown core and surrounding neighborhoods. I’ve worked alongside a committed board, savvy community advisory committee, forward-thinking business leaders, dedicated city staff, and passionate citizen advocates, young and not-as-young. The heartfelt desire and dedication among every one of them to improve our city, warts and all, is staggering. There is untapped opportunity here, for native and newcomer.
With your continued advice and assistance, and a comprehensive and workable General Plan to guide us, we’ll achieve greater things, downtown and beyond.
See you on Saturday.
DPJ’s Wire series delivers news and information straight from the source without translation.
Local First Arizona to Celebrate 10th Annual Certified Local Fall Festival
10th anniversary honors impact on local community and economy
Local First Arizona will host the 10th Annual Certified Local Fall Festival on Saturday, November 8, 2014, from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. at Portland Parkway (10 W Portland St, Phoenix, AZ 85003) in the heart of Downtown Phoenix. The Certified Local Fall Festival is a free family-friendly event for all ages and an annual celebration of all things local to Arizona.
“There is no other festival or event like the Certified Local Fall Festival, it is a completely unique event to Arizona,” said Local First Arizona Director Kimber Lanning. “This festival highlights everything that Arizona has to offer, from one-of-a-kind local shops, boutiques, and restaurants to Arizona-made wine and beer. It really makes people proud to call Arizona home.”
The Certified Local Fall Festival has grown into one of Downtown Phoenix’s premier community events, having been named Best Free Festival of Phoenix by the Phoenix New Times in 2011. This year’s festival will feature more than 100 vendors with some of Arizona’s favorite local businesses:
- Food samples from some of the best Arizona restaurants and food trucks
- A beverage garden featuring Arizona-produced wine, beer, and spirits sponsored in part by Postino Winecafe, Phoenix Ale Brewery, Grand Canyon Cellars, Historic Brewing Company, Four Peaks Brewing Company, SanTan Brewing Company, and Dos Cabezas WineWorks
- Live entertainment from some of Arizona’s most talented musicians at the Bookmans Entertainment Stage
- Crafts and activities for kids and families provided by Kidstop Specialty Toys and Books
- A comics and superhero corner provided by Samurai Comics
- An inflatable baseball batting cage sponsored by the Arizona Diamondbacks
- Kids yoga at 11:00 a.m., 12:00 p.m., and 1:00 p.m. presented by Desert Song Healing Arts Center
- A raffle with nearly 100 gift cards and prizes from local businesses
- An online silent auction featuring 100 items and experiences, along with staycation packages across the state; and much more.
“Ten years ago, we started out with about 30 local vendors and 1,500 attendees in the corner of a parking lot at The Duck and Decanter,” Lanning says about the first Certified Local Fall Festival. “Today, we’ve grown into a community event that draws thousands from across the state. I’m proud of the work we’ve done to turn this event into a real point of pride for the Valley and the community.”
According to Lanning, new studies show that when Arizonans support local and independently owned businesses, up to four times more money stays and circulates in the local economy to support local job creation, strong schools and local services, and vibrant and diverse communities. “The Certified Local Fall Festival is a fun way to engage the community with the local business community and remind them about the benefits of supporting local businesses,” said Lanning.
The Certified Local Fall Festival is presented by Local First Arizona and sponsored by APS, Pride Group, CopperPoint Mutual Insurance Company, Scott’s Marketplace, Wist Office Products, Pikfly, Carolyn Sechler CPA, Upward Projects, Brand X T-Shirts, Up Cycle T-Shirts, and AlaMari Media. Entrance to the Certified Local Fall Festival is free. Food and drink tickets will be available for purchase on site for $1 each. Food samples can be redeemed for one ticket and beverage samples can be redeemed for two tickets. Local business vendors will be selling a variety of unique gifts and products, prices will vary. The first 500 attendees to arrive at the festival will receive a handmade gift bag sponsored by Adobe Awning filled with goodies from participating local businesses. Public transportation is highly encouraged as the festival is easily accessible from the Valley Metro Light Rail station at Central Avenue and Roosevelt Street. Arizonans are invited to join the conversation on social media before and during the event by tagging #LFAFallFest in their comments and posts.
Images courtesy of Local First Arizona.
David Krietor has served as 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 other chats here.
Among the 2014 enshrinees into the Arizona State University athletics hall of fame was Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Andre Ethier. Having grown up near 12th Street and Osborn where “ASU was put in his blood,” Andre noted in his acceptance remarks, “I’m proud to be a downtown Phoenix guy.” Well, we’re proud of Andre too. And now continue reading about the work of other outstanding downtown Phoenix guys and gals.
Eyeing the Future
On Oct. 16, ground was broken for the 10-story, 245,000 square-foot Biosciences Partnership Building on the Phoenix Biomedical Campus. The $136 million project will create nearly 500 construction jobs and 360 permanent jobs when completed in 2016. A special thank you to all of the staff with the City’s Community and Economic Development Department who worked behind the scenes to make this project possible.
At the Evans Churchill Community Association meeting on Oct. 8, more information and detailed drawings were outlined about Lux Central’s new location at Portland and First streets. What’s new is the moniker, Lux Commonwealth and County; what remains the same is the urban look and feel that makes Lux unique.
The Grand Avenue Rail Project (GARP) has expanded its original proposal and continues to seek political support for the installation of a downtown streetcar system. GARP board members, led by architect Bob Graham, have expanded the proposed route for the streetcar line because of the resurgence of development in downtown and the success of the Artlink First Friday trolley system.
My colleague Dan Klocke of the Downtown Phoenix CDC was interviewed about the proposed 34-story residential tower and mixed use development to be built on the existing Central Station at Central and Van Buren. A question about that elusive downtown grocery store was also thrown in.
Here and Now
On Oct. 17, as Arizona became the 31st state in the Union to allow same-sex marriage, the Maricopa County Clerk of the Superior Court office in downtown Phoenix became the history-in-the-making location where same-sex couples obtained the first marriage licenses and were married.
The Professional Convention Management Association is saying positive things about Phoenix, and an example of the growing number of conventions visiting Phoenix and utilizing the Phoenix Convention Center is the just-concluded 2014 Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing Conference. More than 8,000 attendees from across the globe traveled to downtown Phoenix for the world’s largest gathering of women technologists, including professionals from industry, government, and academia. The conference generated approximately $11 million in direct spending and attendees stayed at 25 local hotels.
Where are the high technology “hot spots” in metro Phoenix? According to Cushman & Wakefield Technology Group, it’s Loop 101 in the East Valley, Chandler’s Price Corridor, downtown Tempe, Old Town Scottsdale, Kierland, and downtown Phoenix. According to Matthew Coxhead of Cushman & Wakefield, “Downtown Phoenix is another starting to show potential because of its historic warehouse district.”
On Oct. 16, residents of several downtown neighborhoods gave an earful to City of Phoenix and Federal Aviation Administration officials at a standing-room-only meeting at City Council chambers. The FAA changed one of their their westward departures out of Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport impacting a number of neighborhoods in and around downtown. Noise complaints in the first two weeks of the change-over exceeded all complaints in 2013. The FAA says it will take resident issues into consideration to possibly resolve the issue.
Small Biz is Good Biz
Kimber Lanning, Local First Arizona founder/director and DPI board member, received the 2014 Citizen Leadership Award from the International Economic Development Council in recognition of her key role in fostering sustainable economic development in Phoenix and across Arizona. Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton said it best, “This award is a milestone in a changing economy, one that is now recognizing the work of Local First Arizona and other Local First initiatives as a viable part of economic development. Kimber can proudly accept this award on behalf of everyone working to create sustainable, resilient, diverse, and vibrant local economies in their own communities.”
Several small businesses opened their doors in the past two weeks: EDM Phoenix, a new downtown danceteria opened on N. Central Ave. where the long-time Amsterdam and recently-closed Bar on Central were situated. Treeo on Sixth Street south of Roosevelt now houses three ardent urban champions: Champion PR & Consulting (Stacey Champion), Harder Development (Ashley Harder), and FenSource (Joe Brklacich). Tuft & Needle, a start-up mattress company, is relocating to the Warehouse District.
What are the top ten restaurants in downtown Phoenix. Howard Seftel of the Arizona Republic came up with his list of favorites. Do you agree? Disagree? What are your favorites? May I kindly suggest you go try them all?
Two local non-profit organizations dedicated to music education have formed a collaboration to teach jazz to high school students from across metro Phoenix. The Phoenix Conservatory of Music and Jazz in Arizona, situated with The Nash jazz club on E. Roosevelt St., initiated the one-year pilot program to team the first class of nine students with experienced musicians.
Down the street, two art-filled shipping containers have been placed on the Roosevelt Row A.R.T.S. Program lot, along-side the original Hot Box Gallery which has held rotating art exhibits each month for the past year. Roosevelt Row CDC received two Artplace creative placemaking grants to demonstrate how temporary art installations can contribute to neighborhoods dotted with underutilized vacant lots.
One of downtown’s most ardent boosters and doers, Jim Ballinger of the Phoenix Art Museum, is retiring. He penned this letter in the Downtown Phoenix Journal to share his thoughts on the importance of the arts and community to Phoenix, past, present, and future. One snippet: “I am most proud of how Phoenix Art Museum has served the community beyond our walls including the arts community and neighborhoods of downtown Phoenix.”
For a full list of downtown events and activities, check out our ever-growing online calendar. There you can review all that’s going on, save an event to your calendar, buy tickets, and share the information with your friends, family, and associates.
The Downtown Phoenix, Inc. (DPI) team received excellent feedback at our quarterly Board of Directors meeting earlier this week. In addition to a comprehensive overview of new development initiatives, we focused on events, membership, establishing our brand, and our work with Roosevelt Row and Evans Churchill to investigate the feasibility of creating a business improvement district. Our economic development partner, the Downtown Phoenix Community Development Corporation (CDC), has joined the Downtown Phoenix Partnership (DPP) in agreeing to a January 1, 2015 consolidation date. We continue to work with the Phoenix Community Alliance (PCA) on a similar arrangement.
Having our business, city, and community leadership at the same table focused on the future of downtown bodes well for the future.
Doing Our Best
USA Today named the Roosevelt Row Arts District one of the top ten best arts districts in the nation. Last year Roosevelt Row was spotlighted, again by USA Today, as one of the ten best neighborhoods that tourists haven’t found yet.
Bleacher Report named Phoenix the 13th best city (out of 25) to be a sports fan. Rankings were based on number of teams and events, success of teams in last five years, stadiums, fan passion, general fan experience, media, star power, and tradition and history.
Our Bleacher Report ranking should go up a few notches as the Phoenix Mercury completed a three-game sweep of the Chicago Sky on Sunday to win the third WNBA championship in team history. They join the Arizona Rattlers who, a few weeks earlier, won their Arena Football League championship against the Cleveland Gladiators.
Earlier this month, government, business, and civic leaders hosted representatives from the Democratic National Committee in town to evaluate Phoenix as the site of the 2016 Democratic National Convention. Phoenix was the fifth and final stop for convention planners. Other cities being considered are Birmingham, AL; Columbus, OH; New York City; and Philadelphia, PA. According to Mayor Stanton, “I am confident that when the DNC leadership leaves here, they will leave with an understanding that, logistically, there is no better place than Phoenix.”
What’s Brewing Downtown
Downtown Phoenix welcomes a new brewery. On September 15, Mother Bunch Brewing opened in the 1926 J.B. Bayless Grocery building at Seventh Street and Garfield. Until it offers its own signature beers in a few weeks, Mother Bunch will make available a variety of Arizona beers through its 20 taps along with a “sophisticated, but not complicated” lunch and dinner menu.
Local First Arizona has released the fifth edition of its Phoenix Small Wonders map, a pocket-sized guide featuring nearly sixty local restaurants, pubs, galleries, boutiques, venues, and experiences located in central Phoenix. All of the businesses included in the guide are independently owned and operated.
The City of Phoenix received a $1.6 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation to evaluate the planning, environmental, and conceptual engineering to extend Metro light rail down Central Avenue from Jefferson to Baseline Road. According to Mayor Greg Stanton, “Getting light rail to South Mountain is one of my personal priorities. I want to bring the same flexible transit options to the area as others in the city experience with Metro.”
The City of Phoenix has selected Chicago-based Smithfield Properties to develop a mixed-used project on the northwest corner of Central Avenue and Van Buren, the current site of the Central Station transit facility. Smithfield proposes a 476-apartment, 390-foot building that would be one of the tallest buildings in Arizona. A parking garage also would be built as part of the new development. Metro light rail trains and Valley Metro buses still will run through the station.
New City Church will be moving into a 18,000 square foot building at 1300 North Central Avenue for more space and a central location near the Roosevelt Row Arts District. According to Pastor Brian Kruckenberg, “We love being on the ‘front porch’ of the city and are ecstatic about the growth and attention that the city’s center is getting.”
New apartments and condominiums have sprung up or are being planned in and around downtown Phoenix. That’s a positive trend. But stalwarts of downtown living are the residents of Phoenix’s historic districts who remained while others fled to the suburbs in the 50s or purchased, renovated, and brought back to life vintage homes since then. The Arizona Republic has begun to profile these neighborhoods in word and photo: Country Club Park, Del Norte Place, East Evergreen, Encanto Palmcroft, F.Q. Story, Fairview Place, La Hacienda, Margarita Place, North Encanto, North Garfield, Roosevelt, Windsor Square, Woodland, and Woodlea.
Our Creative Arts
The second RadiatePHX business and community networking event, sponsored by DPI and Downtown Phoenix Journal, was held at the ASU Step Gallery in the Warehouse District on Tuesday. The theme and conversation focused on the importance of the arts community, cultural engagement, and the work of our local creatives to help transform and improve our downtown. Guest speakers in front of a packed audience included Councilwoman Kate Gallego and Steven Tepper, the new Dean of the ASU Herberger Institute of Design and the Arts. We appreciated the strong participation of PCA members at this event.
Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication in downtown Phoenix is opening the doors of its New Media Innovation Lab to the public, offering expert advice and support on entrepreneurial and technological endeavors.
Two members of the DPI Board of Directors were just highlighted in the press, partly due to their involvement with the arts: Ken Van Winkle, managing partner with Lewis, Roca, Rothgerber, most recently chaired Ballet Arizona’s successful campaign to create their new facility at 29th Street and Washington. Tim Eigo, editor of Arizona Attorney magazine, serves as steering committee chair of Downtown Voices Coalition and recent host of Space 55’s first PHIL Talk (Phoenix Has Ideas LIVE), a comical parody of TED Talks. In addition, Dr. Carol Poore, chair of PCA’s Arts, Culture, and Public Life Committee, wrote a compelling op-ed in the Arizona Republic about how science, technology, engineering, math, and the arts are all vital to attracting businesses and retaining skilled workers in cities and towns throughout our state.
Amanda LaCasse, one of the 106,800 college students who live in Phoenix – and more specifically downtown Phoenix – shared her opinion about growing up and now furthering her education here: “The gems I have grown to love are not hidden – they are plain and simple, out in the open. Anyone can find a spot to feel at home in downtown Phoenix if they spend enough time getting to know the area, and nobody should be afraid of it. It offers the same services as any other part of the city, but with a more authentic attitude and honest, personable interactions with people who love you for who you are.”
DPJ’s Wire series delivers news and information straight from the source without translation.
Local First Arizona Releases Fifth Edition of Phoenix Small Wonders Map
Pocket-sized guide serves as resource to find local restaurants, shops, and more
Local First Arizona has released the fifth edition of the Phoenix Small Wonders map, a pocket-sized guide featuring nearly sixty local restaurants, galleries, boutiques, venues, and experiences located in the central Phoenix area. All of the businesses included in the guide are independently owned and operated.
“We created the Small Wonders maps series to help Arizona residents and visitors find the unique local businesses in their neighborhoods,” said Kimber Lanning, Director of Local First Arizona. “Our central Phoenix map has been one of our most popular maps. We have found that visitors especially love to use the map to find the best local restaurants and shops to experience Phoenix like a true local.”
“Participating in the Small Wonders map has always been a no-brainer for us,” says Lisa Olson of Practical Art, one of the participating businesses in the fifth edition of the Phoenix Small Wonders map. “Not only have the Small Wonders maps helped bring in new customers to Practical Art, they have also been a great tool for us to share information about other small businesses with our customers. When someone asks about other places they should check out around the area we can just hand them a map and circle our recommendations!”
Some of the businesses featured in the fifth edition of the Phoenix Small Wonders map include recently opened businesses such as The Clever Koi, Joyride Taco House, and The Welcome Diner, but also includes old favorites like the Duck and Decanter, frances, All About Books and Comics, and many others. The map boundaries cover the area south of Bethany Home Road, north of Washington Street, east of 15th Avenue, and west of 12th Street.
Local First Arizona has also produced Small Wonders maps for the Phoenix Arcadia Area, Tucson, the Verde Valley, Gilbert, Glendale, Scottsdale, Tempe, and Mesa. The Phoenix Small Wonders map can be viewed digitally at the Local First Arizona website: http://localfirstaz.com/small-wonders/phoenix.php. Physical maps can be picked up at a variety of local businesses, hotels, apartments, and events in the Phoenix area. Business owners, realtors, property managers, hotels, event organizers, and individuals can request maps for distribution free of charge by contacting Local First Arizona at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photos courtesy of Local First Arizona.