Ross: Special thank you to Scottsdale’s Museum Square

A big thank you goes out to all of you who attended the Museum Square open house at the invitation of Macdonald Development and Councilwoman Solange Whitehead.

Lance Ross

Progress and civic engagement is derived from the input of a community’s citizens and forums like these allow people to speak, listen and learn.

GreasePaint Theatre has been down this road before, but never have we had the support of so many within the city to help save our theatre and invest in our youth for years to come.

For those who have not had the pleasure to attend one of our performances and meet our talented young actors and actresses you would see first-hand that in addition to teaching the art of acting and stage at GreasePaint it is also our mission to teach respect, kindness and generosity to all.

The development of Museum Square is not only beneficial to GreasePaint Theatre but an important cultural asset to the citizens of City of Scottsdale.

For those that are not aware of the project, Museum Square is looking to develop the vacant Loloma land behind the Scottsdale Artist’s School with four residential buildings and a high end hotel with a new multi-use public event space between the Museum of the West and the Stagebrush Theatre which houses GreasePaint.

If Museum Square is approved, the sale of public land, will result in about $28 million to the city of Scottsdale. These are new revenues the city desperately needs for its struggling infrastructure, public safety and the potential expansion of the adjacent renowned Smithsonian affiliate, the Museum of the West. This is great news as the money will come from the private sector, not taxpayer dollars.

Both the City of Scottsdale and Macdonald Development have worked closely with GreasePaint throughout this entire process to ensure a positive outcome. In fact, they are investing more than a million dollars to provide our theater with some building improvements to coincide with our fundraising efforts to upgrades the theatrical equipment.

The current plan is to renovate the lobby, facade, restrooms that can be used for special events and improve and expand the parking lots at the Stagebrush Theatre site and Scottsdale Artists’ School site. All of these items will be considered at the same time as the City Council considers the zoning approval on the Museum Square site.

As many are aware, the concerns surrounding public parking have become a major issue for many in downtown Scottsdale. Fortunately, in Scottsdale, unlike most other cities, we do not pay to park which likely adds to the demand for preferred spaces. However, the parking provided in the Museum Square development and surrounding area would have 286 off-street and 60 on-street public parking spaces. These spaces are available to support all of the uses in the area including the galleries and other businesses.

But let us not forget that none of these improvements are possible unless the Museum Square project is approved and the sale is consummated. There may be other ways to address parking issues in the area and we support those ongoing conversations and efforts to do so.

We at GreasePaint are not the only supporters of Museum Square.

Some of our fellow supporters include the Museum of the West, the Scottsdale Gallery Association, Larsen Gallery, Jason Alexander, Paul Messinger, Legacy Gallery and the Scottsdale Firefighter’s Association.

Scottsdale is changing. It’s not the same town when I grew up here some 55 years ago and walked from Scottsdale High School across to the Ranch House for lunch. To those who have wonderful memories and long for the days of Old Scottsdale, as I find myself doing from time to time; I am also optimistic about the direction and the future of Scottsdale.

This is why I am excited for the development of Museum Square and applaud the Scottsdale City Council for its unanimous support.

Editor’s Note: Lance Ross is president of Greasepaint Theatre Board of Directors

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