Hidden Letters to the Editor: Scottsdale’s Vision

I was a participant in the recent Arizona Town Hall “visioning process” that kicked-off our next attempt at a General Plan update. I’ll be writing a lot more about this effort in the weeks ahead.

However, for the moment I want to share with you some Scottsdale Republic “Saturday Sound-Off” letters to the editor you might not see if you look for them only on AZCentral:

What should be key components in Scottsdale’s Visioning Statement?

Scottsdale is a dynamic environ­ment that includes art, nightlife, shopping and outdoor activities throughout the city. Scottsdale thrives on creating community and providing a place that allows people of all ages to enjoy and celebrate life. With an emphasis on tourism and entertainment, we want to stay focused and not lose sight of our history and ele­ments that have made Scottsdale what it is today. We also want to focus on the preservation and integrity of the desert and beauty of the landscape that has become the skyline of Arizona. In Scottsdale we care, and we show it by staying focused on the key differentia­tors of the city every day.

— Jennifer Kaplan, Scottsdale, marketing executive

I agree with Kathie Barnes, one of the participants in the process, that the process should be about attainable objectives while, at the same time, being smart and visionary. I also agree with another participant, Joan Baron, that the new planning process should include a robust debate on alternative modes of transportation that tie Scottsdale better to adjacent cities while also reducing the impacts of density and encouraging the redevelopment of blighted areas in the community, such as the McDowell Road corridor. Make Scottsdale about something more than bars and apartments. Good grief. Think big and let’s not hide from debates on controversial issues.

— James Derouin, Scottsdale, retired

As someone who has served on a lot of non-profit boards, I’ve always disliked the process of writing visioning and mission state­ments by committee.

They usually end up being disgustingly wordy without really saying anything. That being said, it would be nice if Scottsdale’s new vision statement bucked the trend. I’d like to see simple, declarative sentences. Words and phrases I’d like to see included would be things like economic vitality, arts and culture, tourism, jobs, open space, healthy, horse-friendly, inclusive, di­versity, tourism, retail, great schools and politically functional. “The West’s Most Western Town” can go bye-bye.

— Joanie Flatt, Scottsdale, public relations executive

I don’t think Scottsdale’s future should involve any type of light rail on Scottsdale Road or anywhere else. It’s an expensive boondoggle as illustrat­ed by the Phoenix-to-Mesa line, where there are probably more people riding for free than paying. I like the system in Atlantic City where they have 13-seat jitneys running con­stantly. They are small, efficient, and there is always one available; a perfect situation for Scottsdale. I also think we have enough apartments. Some look like military barracks and I saw enough of them in the Air Force.

— Jim McAllister, Scottsdale, writer

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