Scottsdale residents Speak Out on Pejman commentary evaluating Downtown 2.0

Speak Out Scottsdale, which is presented by the Scottsdale Independent, provides a sampling of the many views and opinions posted by our readers in response to stories that have appeared here.

The views do not reflect the opinions of the newspaper, but are merely meant to provide readers with a reflection of the discussion within the community on various issues. Readers are encouraged to join the discussion and post their comments to Speak Out Scottsdale or email them directly to the editor at tthornton@newszap.com.

In response to the commentary, “The good, bad and ugly of the Downtown 2.0 Scottsdale pursuit,” this is what your fellow Scottsdale residents are saying:

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I am astounded to learn of the recommendations proposed by the city and am strongly against the new taxation to be placed upon merchants that are already so heavily burdened and working hard to increase the vitality and income for their own individual businesses. The improvements to the city should be funded by the city’s General Fund. This is the most appropriate use of that money! Parking meters would also add injury to our downtown arts district. It would be a discouragement and inconvenience and bring a negative blight to the street! I propose that additional parking garages be built to provide free parking to everyone who are potential customers to the Scottsdale businesses. I’m also vehemently against bringing out-of-state artists at the cost of $2 million when we have a bounty of our own world-class artists that we are supporting. None of the above would create a positive impact and outcome — Ramona Hancock

Thanks for exposing this ridiculous proposal, and reminding Scottsdale citizens the DDC/Desert Edge is not the only outrage Scottsdale city government is trying to force on them. The city has been messing with downtown and the galleries for decsdes — ironically, I first ran for city council in 2002 to put an end to the Downtown Partnership, which was an earlier version of the proposed Business Improvement District. The Downtown Partnership was a disaster for the merchants and they were happy to see it go. Obviously the city has not learned from history! As for parking meters, just another way for the city to increase taxes via the back door — Bob Littlefield

Installing parking meters in downtown Scottsdale is a ridiculous idea. There are no meters in Fashion Square, Kierland or the Quarter. Why in the world would the small business of downtown be expected to have metered parking? This would be disastrous, especially for the art district … really bad idea! — Brenda Schreiner

U.S. early on realized, the path to a true democracy was to first include the rejection of an hereditory aristocracy. Men who look upon themselves born to reign, and others to obey, soon grow insolent; selected from the rest of mankind their minds are early poisoned by their own importance.

Unfortunately, with the rejection of an hereditary monarchy and aristocracy, the People of the United States has permitted an aristocracy of wealth and privilege to grow, enabled and facilitated by a political aristocracy. Whatever the nature of an aristocracy, it is the usurpation of the People’s sovereignty that is the greatest threat to freedom, which should instruct any thinking individual as to what should be done — Laura Weaver

As a Scottsdale Native, who grew up in “Old Town,” I suggest we look both forward and to the past. To look forward add more parking (garages?) to ease some of the congestion and to look to the past add events that bring people into downtown to shop, eat and enjoy. Why not feature local artist demonstrations & workshops? I attended one last year featuring Ron Carlos, a native Maricopa potter sponsored by Scottsdale Public Art — it was hands on and fun! We don’t need out-of-state artists — we have so many talented locals we should be featuring. Bring back some version of the western-themed shows and “shoot outs” that used to be staged every Saturday morning in January leading up to the Parada Del Sol. Why not do a “Restaurant Crawl” starting somewhere like Los Olivos for appetizers and ending at the Sugar Bowl for dessert. Make downtown a destination for locals as well as visitors. The bar scene and all that comes with it is driving locals away — Liz Hill

Parking meters in downtown will be the death nail for art galleries and other specialty stores in downtown. I have shopped downtown a lot over the years (galleries, 5th Ave shops) … but if I have to pay to park there, guess what? I’ll just go to Fashion Square of the Quarter where I can park and shop without worrying about getting a ticket. The writer is correct — there are no parking meters or fees in all of Scottsdale — so putting meters in downtown is a form of discrimination against these merchants, like they are second class. I thought Scottsdale was trying to revitalize downtown, not ruin it. Imagine you go to 5th Ave during the summer when there are 100 open parking spaces and then you have to put money in or swipe a card in order to park? It’s a joke. No one will park. Everyone will just move on. And the poor merchants will suffer. Peak season, however, will be a different story — Oxana Ivanov

Scottsdale 2.0 has some very good recommendations and some that I do not believe would have a positive impact on our downtown. I think Bob Pejman’s statement below is very important for everyone who is considering the 2.0 recommendations.

“So, while I am in complete agreement that Downtown Scottsdale needs a revitalization and marketing effort to bring it back to the limelight, a much more targeted and cost-effective plan is required … and one that doesn’t cause a negative impact on the small businesses that are the backbone of our downtown, and one that they can get solidly behind.”

An example of what does not work is at play in Cherry Creek, an area of Denver. They allowed the high-rise residential to be over built to the extent that the Cherry Creek Mall had to start charging parking fees as the surrounding residents were filling the free parking lot with overnight and all day non-shoppers.

Our downtown is already lacking enough parking for the winter season and a recommendation is to charge for parking in downtown. All other shopping in the rest of Scottsdale is free. Even the city-owned parking structure at Nordstrom’s. We should start charging for parking there first to see how that works out before having a negative effect on the downtown retail.

This is just one example of what Mr. Pejman has brought out in this letter. I sincerely hope that there is very careful consideration of what will actually improve the Downtown and avoid those that will cause harm — French Thompson

Thank you Bob Pejman for your research and your informative article. As a business owner in the downtown area, it seems as if we are dealt one blow after another by the city with some their ideas, some of which were suggested by their paid out of town consultants. Once again I can’t help but wonder if this is just another strategic plan to blight the downtown brick and mortar businesses. The idea of parking meters is on the table again, which will kill local businesses, will they install them in the Fashion Square Mall? Of course not, just another example of their pay to play game.

I am also against the BID tax, we struggle enough during our off-season to stay afloat. The biggest slap in the face is the ludicrous idea of importing out of state artists and picking up their tab. If this doesn’t scream, “we don’t want our local artists in the community”, I don’t know what else does! This is outrageous! — Beverly Moore

Investing in homegrown talent is the best strategy for long-term success. Instead of $1.2M a year of stupid into the DDC, why not back into a DDC adjunct to the Museum of the West and more downtown culture? And money into the Conservancy, back into the community.

“Leave the Desert Wild, Enhance the Downtown”

I think that idea ^^ is a win for everyone — tourism, Experience Scottsdale, Downtown, culture, residents — Jason Alexander

The city really needs to figure out what to do with downtown but it starts with realizing what they are doing that hurts it more than helps it, like attracting all these businesses that bring no money to the city but add to the congestion and parking problems, and building all the high rise apartments and condos that gain hurt the city more than help it. Our Old Town and arts district businesses are key and are what brings income to the city so they have to be protected and promoted, not destroyed. Doing a BID that taxes them for improvements the city should provide, and charging for parking will both really hurt them, deceasing the city’s income from downtown. How is this good for either those businesses or the city? Then they make it worse by targeting the younger generation that don’t have the money to spend in Scottsdale, instead of targeting the demographic that comes here on vacation and spends a lot in our downtown.

Scottsdale was in a great position with all the tourism that brought a lot of income to the city, but now the city council is destroying that successful formula and attempting to make it even worse with a BID and charging for parking. Could they do anymore damage? No but they could wake up, clean up downtown, promote the unique businesses there, target the right demographic for tourism and provide more free parking. But first they have to stop all they are doing to destroy the downtown experience tourists came here to experience. If we become a big congested town, dominated by bars for the younger generation, the people we need to attract won’t visit and our taxes will have to go way up to pay for all these new residents and businesses that don’t pay their way. How to take a beautiful successful place and destroy it, that is what they are doing — Howard Meyers

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