The Great Scottsdale Exodus

I was buying a new pair of running shoes this weekend (no, I don’t run anymore due to “middle aged” knees, but still like the comfort of the shoes) from a guy named Steve. I asked him where he lived and he said “Central Phoenix.”

When I commented (only half in jest) that it was too bad he didn’t live in Scottsdale, he said that he moved to Scottsdale but moved back to Phoenix not long after. He loved living on the Indian Bend Wash Greenbelt (just south of me, as it happens), but couldn’t stand the influx of weekend party-goers. Having young kids, he felt that Central Phoenix was a better place to raise a family.

Needless to say, I was shocked! I thought he must have been having problems with a specific bar or two, but I couldn’t think of any near where he lived in Scottsdale. Steve said it wasn’t a specific party destination, just more Scottsdale’s reputation (generally deserved, particularly downtown and in South Scottsdale) as a party place that made it less family-friendly.

I don’t see it, at least not from where I live. However, it disturbs me greatly that this bright fellow who I would have welcomed as a neighbor feels this way. It also makes me wonder how many others feel the same. Certainly many of the residents who live closer than me to the Scottsdale “Entertainment District” share Steve’s perspective.

The Wall Street Journal published an article recently called, “The Great California Exodus.” I don’t agree with all the premises or the conclusions, however, there are some great passages that ring true for Scottsdale.

In particular, writer Joel Kotkin says,

“What I find reprehensible beyond belief is that the people pushing [high-density housing] themselves live in single-family homes and often drive very fancy cars, but want everyone else to live like my grandmother did in Brownsville in Brooklyn in the 1920s.”

Not only is that true in Scottsdale and other parts of the metropolitan Phoenix area, it also applies to the folks who are promoting and permitting our out-of-control entertainment scene downtown. None of those people live in Villa Monterey or any other place within earshot of the Entertainment District.

Quality of life is what makes us Scottsdale rather than Tempe or any of our other neighbors. Once we’ve lost that, what do we have that they don’t have, too?

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