State of Midtown Phoenix 2017

These remarks on the state of Midtown Phoenix were given at the Midtown Neighborhood Association Annual Meeting in December 2017.

[author’s note: The following remarks were given to the Midtown Neighborhood Association at its Annual Meeting earlier this week.]

As both an Association and as a geographic place, 2017 marked Midtown’s best year yet. Not only did we put on our usual two successful events – Sunday Off Central in March and our fifth Urban Living Tour in November – but we paved the way for future programs and projects to advance Midtown’s standing in Phoenix and the metropolitan area. In the last couple of months, we have reached out to kindred organizations to reaffirm who we are and to break away from that typical Phoenix condition wherein organizations and neighborhoods don’t talk to each other and lift each other up as issues arise.

A great example of this is with our friends in downtown Phoenix. Many of us will be aware of the consternation that has been raised by the BMO Tower sign. Whatever your views on top-of-building signage and their contribution to urban life, we all know that it’s been a great talking point for Midtown. We were able to join our friends at the Phoenix Downtown Neighborhood Alliance, our counterpart organization in that part of Phoenix, to put a hold on top-of-building signage until the City has created an equitable signage policy. The Midtown Neighborhood Association will be at that table.

We have also created a roundtable program for the Boards of Directors and general managers of the large high-rise and mid-rise condominium and co-operative associations in our neighborhood. Anchored by Tapestry on Central and Regency on Central, this roundtable will be a networking opportunity and idea-sharing platform for those involved in the governance and management of some of Phoenix’s largest and longest-running privately owned multifamily communities.

Our agenda in 2018 is going to be full and robust. Many of you will be aware that Park Central Mall is going to be renovated. As Midtowners, we will not be sitting idly by while a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity comes forth to reimagine such a large space of land in our own backyard. This project is too important for us to be on the sidelines and we will work with our partner organizations to make sure our Association’s interests and Midtown’s hopes and dreams are realized.

We will reach out to the arts organizations in our neighborhood, including those that were a part of the abortive “Central Arts District,” to launch a new engagement and advocacy program. Our neighborhood is home to cultural organizations that are some of the Southwest’s most important as well as traditional institutions that are breaking the mold and realizing great success doing so. Long-time observers and friends of this organization will recall that our original name was the “Midtown Museum District Neighborhood Association” as a celebration of that fact. Perhaps it’s time that they have an organization that celebrates the place and time these fêted organizations share with us.

We are also going to begin fundraising and development efforts for our Association. We are a neighborhood association with ambitions and ideas. Our current income strategy isn’t enough to support our hopes, dreams, drives, and ambitions. As a 501(c)(3) organization, your contributions to our organization are tax-deductible (at least for now…). If you’re interested in contributing to our organization,we’ll have information on our website, midtownphx.org.

I can’t imagine a better time to be a part of not only this organization but a resident of Midtown Phoenix. It’s a new day; let’s get to work.

Whither Trees

Trees are a good thing. Except when they’re not maintained and we lose them in midtown Phoenix.

[editor’s note: If you’ve checked out the edwardjensen.net website lately, you’ve noticed that it’s changed its look. A lot. We will write more on the transition for this week’s installment of the Friday Five.]

A quick hit for a Monday… Last week’s storm that brought a downpour to inner east Phoenix and Tempe and perhaps, even, a tornado (!!) south of downtown Phoenix (but also brought wind and fury without rain to Midtown had a casualty: this tree in front of Tapestry on Central on Central Avenue.

There is, correctly, a push for putting new trees in central-city Phoenix. I applaud it. But if there isn’t a push to maintain trees properly, then is it worth it? How many more trees must we lose before the City realizes that proper pruning is imperative?

More on this later.