The Scottsdale Coalition of Today and Tomorrow, July 30, 2018


The Scottsdale Coalition of Today and Tomorrow, July 30, 2018

The SCOTT perspective

Old Town Scottsdale is on the verge of landing two exciting developments that may shape its future and its health for years to come.

In our last newsletter we featured a podcast conversation with Carter Unger, who is putting the final touches on a redevelopment project started by his dad, Fred, along the SouthBridge canal. That’s one.

Then a week later, details were released on another major development just a few blocks south of that next to the Museum of the West. That’s the other.

Macdonald Development Co. out of Canada has plans to build a 15-story hotel and four residential buildings as well as a community park in a project called Museum Square. It would replace an abandoned transit station and parking lot covering about 7 acres.

The Scottsdale Gallery Association and the Museum of the West both support it. They see it as a boost to the district’s business and overall exposure – especially the museum as it may open up opportunities for its expansion. The open space incorporated into the plan could host events and gatherings, giving new visitors exposure to this world-class facility.

City Council already voted – unanimously – to approve the sale of the land to Macdonald. The planning commission is the next step. If it makes it through the approval processes, work could start as early as next summer.

Unger’s project, which runs from Goldwater Blvd. to Scottsdale Road along the canal and to the south, is nearing ready for public review and ultimately City Council action. It is a mixed-used project with retail, residential, restaurants and office space. Carter described it as a project that is intended to breathe new life into Old Town while melding with the culture and history of the area.

These two separate developments have been under the planning stages for a while and are coming to light right about the same time. Each is a good addition for Old Town. Combined, they present a chance to give the city core a boost that could last for generations.

Cities all around us are evolving and growing in positive ways, challenging Scottsdale to keep up or lose out. Look what’s going on in downtown Gilbert, Chandler, Tempe
Town Lake, Phoenix, even Mesa.

So what’s not to like about these projects? Naysayers who reject any notion of height and density will surely make their objections known. Parking and traffic issues will need to be worked out. But Old Town Scottsdale is exactly the right place for projects like these … where height already exists and density, as in people, is still needed to bring energy and vibrancy to life in the city.

As both projects wind through the approval process and the required scrutiny, our hope is that city leaders along the way will seize the opportunity to give Old Town, the soul of the city, a strong heart beat for many years to come.

SCOTT on the Issues

Scottsdale’s infrastructure and capital improvement needs and financial solutions were the topic of the recent Issues & Experts forum co-hosted by SCOTT.

We will be examining various aspects of this issue over the next few weeks.

Today: What it takes to “stay even” with the city’s capital needs.
Scottsdale is faced with an estimated backlog of over $800 million of capital improvement projects. Required maintenance, upgrades and replacement of critical city assets exceeded existing funding sources have been deferred over the years.

Two very visible examples of disrepair include lane closures on the 68th Street bridge as it was deemed unsafe for travel. And at Civic Center, the fountains are not working and need repair. The barriers and caution tapes are a detriment to the area, a location where residents and tourists enjoy many activities. These are both safety and image issues for the city.

There is a proposed sales tax increase on the November 2018 ballot to address a match-funded opportunity for critical transportation arterial life-cycle projects (ALCP) that meet the criteria. These 22 projects do not represent all the transportation needs, just those that would qualify for ALCP funding.

In September, the Capital Improvement subcommittee will reconvene to reassess needs, projects, funding sources and mechanisms. The idea is to prepare a bond package for voters to consider in 2019.
Source: City of Scottsdale

Next issue: Bond results overpast 30 years.

The need for civic center repairs is clearly visible.
SCOTT Salutes
Steve Ziomek
Aviator, Businessman, Community volunteer

Steve Ziomek, a Scottsdale resident for over 30 years, has a consistent track record of professional and personal contributions to the community. As an entrepreneur, including businesses at the Airpark, Steve also brings a strong history of aviation education, experience and volunteerism to his many contributions to the city.
Steve is a U.S. Coast Guard Academy graduate and a former Coast Guard rescue pilot. He was appointed by City Council to two successive three-year terms on the Scottsdale Airport Advisory Committee whose members advise on operation of the airport, proposals for development, airport area land use, fees and safety concerns.

Steve is chair of the Thunderbird Field II Veterans Memorial Inc., a non-profit aimed at preserving the history and culture of aviation in Scottsdale. Most recently, this group brought in the Stearman PT-17, a 1921 bi-plane, the same model used to train pilots in Scottsdale during World War II.

Steve was instrumental both as chair of the non-profit and as the pilot who flew this vintage airplane cross-country to the Scottsdale Airport. It will eventually hang at the Scottsdale Airport Aviation Business Center to greet those flying in and out of the Airport, tourists and residents providing a welcome to all and a tribute to Scottsdale’s veterans.

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