12 July 2015

Old? Next? What is The New Urban Downtown Mesa?

Mayor John Giles
Your MesaZona blogger made a point to meet and talk with Mesa Mayor John Giles at his first Spotlight On Hunger event. He had just returned from trips to Washington D.C. and Cupertino, California but took the time back home to support a local/national issue. 
Unlike the mayor, your blogger is not a homeboy or an old root in the old downtown - he's a transplant from "outside the box" of the original One-Square Mile.
According to one source, there have been at more than15 plans for the redevelopment of downtown Mesa over the years.
With the impending arrival and going into operation of Valley Metro Light Rail transportation into the heart of downtown Mesa - with it's promise that "the salvation of downtown Mesa is running on this train" - it's time for a strategic plan with participation and collaboration at all levels with the help of those with expertise in community development and land-use planning to take a look at how Creative PlaceMaking can be a catalyst for the new urban downtown Mesa.

John Williams President & CEO
John Williams [seen in the image to the right], President of the San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco,and members of his staff will be on a site visit to look at opportunities for Creative PlaceMaking in downtown Mesa on Tuesday. If you'd like to watch and hear what he has to say about arts and community development and to know more about Creative PlaceMaking please take the time to hit the link below  to a playlist for five videos about Creative Placemaking on YouTube

Playlist for Creative PlaceMaking
Creative Placemaking: Connecting Community Development and the Arts

  • by SF Fed Community Development
  • 5 videos

  • Last updated on Feb 15, 2015

    Artists and cultural institutions have an important role to play in neighborhood social and economic vitality. As community developers consider how best to reimagine space they can and should look to the arts to help create place

    Readers might wonder, like your blogger, just what John Giles has in mind when he talks about his NextMesa campaign. Details before were indefinite and wishful thinking [compared to former mayor Scott Smith's H.E.A.T. initiatives that are delivering concrete and tangible outcomes] but here in some excerpts from an interview with NEDCO's  Build A Better Downtown Blogspot   with some details and yet-to-happen needs for action to produce desired outcomes/results - and some so not detailed - are getting put into the public discussion about the new urban downtown Mesa.

    Sentences were run-on in this particular segment of the interview. Your blogger has conveniently put those sentences in separate lines to take a look at the ideas and language:
    Italics are direct quotes, with bold or colored added for emphasis

    The Question: What can we as residents do from the ground up to help?
    Reply by the Mayor:      You are doing it. 

    Additionally, the folks that are here need to continue to be enthusiastic about it. 

    There is a great Downtown culture and support group and enthusiasm. 

    I love the folks who are already committed to living downtown and doing renovations to existing homes and there is a real renaissance in our old neighborhoods right now. 

    We need to just keep encouraging people to live in downtown Mesa and to open businesses here. 

    We need to have folks encourage and support the City Council to make people understand that this is a good use of city resources to revitalize downtown Mesa.     ?

    We need more attractions and more reasons for people to come downtown Mesa. 

    We need the city, and the Mayor, to be very proactive in jumpstarting  
    • some good quality development downtown; 
    • some good quality residential, 
    • some good entertainment 
    • and other good uses. 
    The makerspace environment and the arts environment that is great. 
    It is going to get stronger when we get Artspace down here, that will help with the arts community. 
    It is an ideal fit for downtown Mesa with the Mesa Arts Center the artists that live there can work teaching at the Mesa Arts Center in addition to what they do in their own studios. 
    It is inevitable that it will happen.  ??????
    I struggle with the patience to let it happen, I want to jumpstart it anyway I can."

    What are your hopes for the future, what do you envision when Downtown Mesa reaches it's potential?
    "What I see is people. . . 
    People need to live here, it can't be a 9 to 5 place, it needs to be a 24 hour place. So the vision is people, more people, more businesses but also more places to live."

    What are your favorite things about Mesa's downtown?

    "Well I love the Mesa Arts Center. It is a world class facility and I am anxious to shine as bright a light as I can on the Mesa Arts Center because it deserves it. 

    Downtown Mesa is very authentic. It is not a Disneyland re-creation of a  downtown: it is the real thing. We have credentials, we have credibility for being a genuine downtown. 
    I am getting tired of hearing how good our bones are. Ditto for your MesaZona blogger

    The saddest word in the English language is "potential"
    I am anxious for it to reach it's potential . . . HUH?
    I love the restaurants, but I want the restaurants to be dramatically a bigger part of downtown then they are now.  I do love what we have and the opportunity for more. I love the genuineness of the whole place, . . . 

    . . . . . . . . . . . .it really is a good old downtown

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