David Krietor has served as President/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.
DPI was created to engage in activities to support the economic and cultural viability of the total downtown community, to provide advocacy and leadership for our downtown with expanded flexibility and clarity, and to maximize the strong points of existing downtown oriented nonprofits and assist in the creation of others as deemed necessary to further DPI’s mission.
DPI has finalized our contract with the City of Phoenix. This key document formally brings to the DPI Board of Directors the Mayor, City Manager, and four community designated seats.
The full board is comprised of:
- Donald Brandt (APS/Pinnacle West)
- David Cavazos (City of Phoenix)
- Cindy Dach (Roosevelt Row)
- Mike Ebert (RED Development)
- Tim Eigo (Downtown Voices Coalition)
- Derrick Hall (Arizona Diamondbacks)
- Jeri Jones (UnitedHealthcare of Arizona)
- Kimber Lanning (Local First Arizona)
- Jason Rowley (Phoenix Suns)
- Mayor Greg Stanton (City of Phoenix)
- Mo Stein (HKS Architects)
- ErLinda Tórres (Arizona Latino Arts and Cultural Center)
- Ed Zito (Alliance Bank of Arizona)
How can downtown businesses and residents get involved?
The great thing about DPI? We don’t have to recreate the wheel to make it possible for the community to get involved. For more than 30 years, PCA (Phoenix Community Alliance) has provided private sector leadership supporting downtown. During some of this time, as the city’s energy was devoted to more suburban style development, PCA was the lone voice encouraging elected officials to make downtown a priority.
PCA was the driving force behind big projects that shaped downtown but they also fostered the creation of Artlink Inc., Local Initiatives Service Corp., Capitol Mall Association, Discovery Triangle, Downtown Phoenix Partnership, and the Human Services Campus.
An easy way to get involved? Attend or support an Event!
Here are just a few as event season kicks into high gear:
Downtown, Evans Churchill
Downtown, Grand Avenue, Roosevelt Row
Roosevelt Row, Grand Avenue
Now, downtown has been “adopted” by a growing number of energized and creative entrepreneurs. PCA is taking this as opportunity to reshape their mission, membership model and programming to meet the expectations of this broader community. Residents and other individuals will also have a chance to join as downtown advocates.
One of DPI’s charges is to identify ways to make it easier to conceptualize, promote, and implement downtown events. This seems simple but Phoenix is a big, complicated city with unique logistical challenges in and around downtown. The good news is that downtown is becoming so energized that, more and more, it is perceived as “the place to be.” Our event base historically has been the 7 million people who annually attend the sports, theatrical, and convention activities in the core.
Now, based mostly on volunteers and “sweat equity,” the Roosevelt Row/Evans Churchill community has emerged as a major generator of “feet on the street.” USA Today recently called it one of the nation’s ten best neighborhoods that tourists haven’t found yet. Just last week, the New York Times featured the story of an Iraqi artist who now lives in Evans Churchill as an ASU Artist-in-Residence. We can thank, among others, Artlink’s longstanding commitment to Art Detour and First Friday in starting this art wave.
In the short term, the Downtown Phoenix Partnership (DPP) has started to provide additional logistical and Ambassador support for a broader array of events, including the McDowell Mountain Music Festival (returning to Margaret T. Hance Park, March 2014), the third annual Chile Pepper Festival on Roosevelt Row (Sept. 28), and the Celebración Artística de las Américas (CALA) PHX Fest! in downtown (Nov. 12). And, of course, don’t forget the Oct. 26 Zombie Walk. In the mid and longterm, we need to work collaboratively on a model that makes it easier and more cost effective to bring additional events into all parts of our downtown, year-round.
On the real estate side of things, it was great to see the crane go up for the start of construction of the Arizona Cancer Center, the doors open for the first residents of the Roosevelt Point apartment complex at Fourth Street and Roosevelt, and the unveiling of a new residential/commercial project, the Union on Roosevelt, at the key intersection of First Avenue and Roosevelt.
How can we advocate for a more welcoming downtown?
The movement to remake our downtown streets more walkable and more conducive to becoming a revitalization asset is gaining momentum thanks to greater numbers of active and involved residents and community groups, and a willingness on the part of the City’s Street Transportation Department to keep an open mind. Key community players have been Downtown Voices Coalition, Evans Churchill Community Association, Garfield Organization, Grand Avenue Merchants Association, Hance Park Conservancy, Phoenix Spokes People, Roosevelt Action Association, and Roosevelt Row CDC.
Four important new initiatives are underway: (1) new sidewalks and shade trees on Fifth Street between Fillmore and Garfield, (2) a pilot “street diet” project on Lower Grand Avenue, (3) the Adams Street Activation Study, and (4) a pilot “street diet” project on First Street between Washington and Moreland:
- The Fifth Street improvements are being done in conjunction with the construction of the new Arizona Cancer Center resulting from collaboration between the Evans Churchill Community Association, City of Phoenix, and University of Arizona College of Medicine-Phoenix.
- The Lower Grand Avenue project resulted from a “Greening America’s Capitals” grant in partnership with the Grand Avenue Merchants Association, City of Phoenix, and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Valuable community involvement was instrumental in ensuring the best possible outcome.
- The Adams Street Activation Study, with significant community input, hopes to improve the pedestrian experience and enhance economic opportunities and connectivity on Adams between Central Ave. and Second St.
- The First Street initiative was conceptualized by the City’s Street Transportation Department (view PDF site plan here).
Last but not least, the process of developing a new downtown streets master plan will start in the fall to provide an opportunity for broad community input on “the downtown we want.”