It’s a little short notice, but there’s a public outreach meeting this evening you may want to attend if you are following the Downtown Entertainment District saga. It’s at the W Hotel, which is always an interesting place to hang out for a little while. Sonnie Kirtley of COGS sent out a great write-up on it and several other items last night. As before, I’m just going to reprint it here without further comment.
WHAT? A proposed “Beach Club” in the Entertainment District in downtown? Emphasis is not on sand and a beach, but more like a huge swimming pool setting for another Triyar nightclub/bar project. The public open house to review the project will be held tomorrow night, Wednesday, Dec 21st for one hour–at 5 pm-6 pm. The location is the W Hotel on Camelback Road just east of Scottsdale Road. Signs in the lobby will direct you to the display room. This is the only public open house scheduled so far, therefore it is important for you to stop by and talk with the developer’s team. The project application can be read at this link: https://eservices.scottsdaleaz.gov/eservices/cases/casesheet.aspx?caseid=39952&buttons=no
[On a related note] Old Geezers ? Young having fun? Generation “war”? Does the Phoenix newspaper work overtime to capture readers (and subscribers)? A recent editorial cited the downtown Entertainment District problems as just a generation gap. Some of the COGS Board members did a 12:30 am to 3 am walk in the area on a Saturday night. We observed bar patrons in public areas out of control, damage to adjacent office buildings, gang tagging (spray paint to mark “territory” or to “challenge”) on walls, and thousands of bar patrons turned into the streets at the 2 am closing hour.
As you will recall, the original complaints of area neighborhoods was excessive noise and bar parking impact on their interior streets. COGS hosted a meeting of area neighborhood leaders and Mayor Lane earlier in the year. He assured the 20 plus representatives that “something” would be done. We are now many months beyond that meeting and more bars have been City Council approved; more serious patron conduct problems have occurred; valley-wide gangs have descended into the party area; Scottsdale’s reputation has been trashed in the U Tube “female fight” performance; adjacent business owners experience repeated property damage; and we are told that our city assigned additional police and maintenance cleanup crews—unfortunately in a very tight budget year.
What has occurred toward solutions? The 2011 Noise Ordinance was passed. The problem is that it only protects residents living outside the Downtown boundaries. A Neighborhood Parking Permit program begins this month on some streets north of Camelback Road. Police cars have been assigned to those neighborhoods for initial enforcement. The Mayor’s fines for litter begins in 30 days from City Council approval. So when the frequent drunk lies on the sidewalk (or in a business patio) to sleep, they had better not drop a beer can or bottle. The fines don’t appear to include spray painting or writing on private or public property. Our $100,000 per trained police office now become Litter Cops?
The high concentration of liquor sales establishments lacked planning in a city that touts its Planning Department. Excessive competition is not good for any business success so Happy Hours now begin in the early afternoon to get that patron edge. The “Pimp and Ho” costume party to attract bar customers was degrading to the city’s image. Operating an underage “Teen Nightclub” in the same district is poor planning. The teen nightclub scantily-clad Pole Dancers visible from the public street where families drive by is poor planning. It isn’t a Generation Gap but the lack of good planning that could have led to community support of a variety of businesses including liquor sales and their special events in a planned Entertainment District.
Once again—it is YOUR money. Bond proposals on the November 2012 ballot? What project(s ) would you support? The nine appointed members of the 2012 Bond Task Force have been meeting since July 28th. They have listened to multiple presentations from city departments and private-public project advocates pleading placement before the public in a possible 2012 bond vote. Their list of 45 projects were ranked using a method that appeared to be skewed when reported at the December 13th meeting. Two of the nine task force members stated that they did not use the same method to rank as the other 7 members. However, the attachment to this newsletter reports that initial DRAFT of ranking. You need to read the heading/title of the chart carefully to understand the page content.
Page 5 ranks from the top of #1 to the low of 45 and it will show the Project Title followed immediately by that project approx. cost. Page 7 has the rank again but with the accumulative cost—as if you approved the projects above it as well as the project you are reading. Page 8 rearranges the ranked projects and what region of the city it would affect. Page 10 reports the city department projects and how the Bond Task Force ranked it. Page 14 lists Additional Projects not included in the 1-45 projects ranked.
However, following discussion and with public input from Downtown Ambassador/COGS Chairwoman, Sonnie Kirtley, the bond members voted 8 to 1 to move up one more project to the ranked list from the Additional Projects List—Renovate/redesign the western entry to the Civic Center from Old Town. The city’s signature “town square” is the best kept secret if you are a tourist or even a local resident. If you can find it, the Main Street entry begins eastward at a brick walkway where it continues beyond The Yearlings statue….then toward the Historic Society’s “Little Red School House”. This narrow entry gives no clue to the acres of flowers, fountains, performing arts facility, public library, city hall, amphitheater, and restaurants 100 yards ahead. For most cities, their Civic Center is a prominent, highly visible celebration of their city. In Scottsdale it is a hidden pocket. This entry has been the subject of re-design planning for more than 6 years but available funds went to the priority construction of new public toilets.
The next task force meeting might be January 5th as they prepare an update on their work for the City Council. Watch for confirmation in the next COGS E-Newsletter and how you can contact the task force members with your opinion(s) on proposed projects. At their last meeting they requested another method and re-ranking. Please read the attachment as a First Draft and not their final recommendations to present to the City Council in February or March.