30 September 2015

Stay Tuned for Exciting Things > LISC Phoenix's 2015 Annual Breakfast Invitation

MesaZona posted this YouTube video on Facebook yesterday, but things tend to get lost there in all the streams of information, so it's getting up here as part of the one-man mission for this blog - Re/Generating The New Urban Downtown Mesa.
News, opinion, [humor/straight-talk], information and educating the public about issues - with Transit-Oriented Development high in my mind for these online pages.

29 September 2015

Murky Data > Watch Out What's Driving Data

There's nothing like an inside track on politics in the State of Arizona or the City of Mesa. Nice work if you can get it.
Auditor claims Commerce Authority’s job creation figures are murky

By: Howard Fischer, Capitol Media Services September 24, 2015 , 4:04 pm

"State auditors say the Arizona Commerce Authority needs to report whether information on  jobs, wages, and capital investment is based on commitments companies announce or the actual jobs created and capital investment made . . . but audit manager Dot Reinhard said there’s really no way to tell exactly what the authority has done.
“Its reports generally provide information based on commitments companies announce rather than the actual jobs created or capital investment made,” her report states . . . Overall, the authority claims expansion and relocation projects represent more than $3.3 billion in capital investment.
None of that, however, shows the actual jobs created. . .
Reinhard said Commerce Authority officials told her staffers that it focuses on commitments because they “more promptly and directly measure the authority’s work to add jobs and investment in Arizona.” But she said, though, that’s not an acceptable practice.
“The National State Auditors Association has developed a set of best practices for carrying out state economic development efforts that indicate that an agency should report relevant information to the public summarizing the results of its economic development program,” she wrote. “The authority should clarify in its annual report and other reports it produces whether the information presented on job created, wages, and capital investment represents committed or actual outcomes.”
But the audit report said the lack of accurate numbers is just part of the problem.
What’s also missing, Reinhard said, is a comparison of the financial incentives provided on a company-by-company basis compared to the actual economic outcome produced. She said while some information is available, the reports “lack a consolidated comparison of the incentives given to the benefits received.”
“Without clear information about the state’s return on investment, it may be difficult for decision makers to make informed decisions about Arizona’s economic development activities,” Reinhard said.
A spokeswoman for the authority said Sandra Watson, its president and chief executive, was in meetings on Thursday and could not personally comment. Nor was there a response to a request for data on actual jobs created in the 2014 fiscal year versus the commitments reported.
Watson also said in a statement, “As indicated in the responses provided in the report, the ACA agrees to implement all recommendations made by the Office of the Auditor General, and in many cases has already done so.”
She did not, however, promise to report actual jobs created. Instead she said the authority will make clear whether the figures reported are based on projections or actual activity.
Read more >> http://azcapitoltimes.com/news/2015/09/24/auditor-claims-commerce-authoritys-job-creation-figures-are-murky/#ixzz3n9OFm2Iu

What's the Story? Everybody's ReBranding & Why

Rebranding is a marketing strategy in which a new name, term, symbol, design, or combination thereof is created for an established brand with the intention of developing a new, differentiated identity in the minds of consumers, investors, competitors, and other stakeholders.
Rebranding - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Why ReBrand? Relevancy . . . Relevancy: When a company realizes its brand is losing relevancy in consumers' minds, it might be time to rebrand.

28 September 2015

More Data Ahead > State Personal Income Stats

Second Quarter 2015 State Personal Income Statistics to be Released September 30 [received one hour ago]
WASHINGTON – Preliminary statistics on people’s incomes by state in the second quarter of 2015 will be released Wednesday, September 30 by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA).
These state personal income statistics will provide BEA’s first look at state economies for the April-June quarter of 2015 and serve as a basis for government and business decision making.
For example:
  • Federal government agencies use state personal income statistics to allocate funds and determine matching grants to states. The statistics are also used in forecasting models to project energy and water use.
  • State governments use the statistics to project tax revenues and demand for public services.
  • Academic regional economists use the statistics for applied research.
  • Businesses, trade associations, and labor organization use the statistics for market research.
As part of this release, BEA will release revised quarterly and annual statistics for 1976-2014 and for the first quarter of 2015. They will also include state per capita personal income statistics for the first quarter of 2010 through the second quarter of 2015 for the first time. Previously, per capita personal income statistics were only available on an annual basis.
The statistics, released at 8:30 a.m. eastern time, also will be available on BEA’s website (www.bea.gov).

New Conference Center Downtown

Rendering from City of Mesa

Save the Family to Build Conference Center

By Roland Murphy for Arizona Builder’s Exchange September 22, 2015
Save the Family Foundation of Arizona will use a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding to build a 2,400SF conference center at its University Drive and Pasadena administrative headquarters in Mesa.
The space, to be built on vacant land between the Save the Family offices and Mesa United Way building, will be available to any 501 (c) (3) charity in the East Valley in need of meeting space.
Neither Save the Family nor Unity Way currently have adequate space to handle large meetings . . .  GC bids will be solicited in the Fall. Construction is planned to begin around the first of the year.
Read more >>  http://azbex.com/save-the-family-to-build-2400sf-conference-center/?inf_contact_key=1245738e00f7bd0b400da2bf24b1af42e306e88e21eb6b312e21be8ae6519d14




27 September 2015

Reality Check > Data-Driven or Cheerleading?

MesaZona blog sometimes aggregates the news to compare and contrast what's published in different media to reflect viewpoints of the sources providing a narrative and a context for what message the source wants to put into the discourse of the public domain.
Mike Sunnucks reporting in the Phoenix Business Journal on Thursday, September 24, 2015 @ 1:22 p.m. MST wrote this:
" . . . Phoenix’s regional GDP grew by 1.8 percent last year, according to new data from the U.S. Commerce Department.
That is 148th among U.S. metros . . . "
Readers of this blog might want to note a post here from September 13 where the site Wallet Hub ranked Metro Phoenix #143 out of 150 for recovery from The Great Recession according to their analytics.
Mike goes on: ". . . It has to raise a little concern that the Phoenix region can’t muster more economic gains . . . especially as we remain a growth-oriented economy. . . The lackluster growth also shows why we continue to have some soft numbers and the highest office vacancy rate among major U.S. markets. . .
All the political, economic development and other cheerleading can't change that."
Read more from article >> http://m.bizjournals.com/phoenix/blog/business/2015/09/reality-check-phoenix-s-economic-growth-148th.html

Some good data from the U.S Department of Labor for June 2015 came out last month
Changing Compensation Costs in the Phoenix Metropolitan Area – June 2015
Total compensation costs for private industry workers increased 2.3 percent in the Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, Ariz. metropolitan area for the year ended June 2015, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Regional Commissioner Richard J. Holden noted that one year ago, Phoenix experienced an annual gain of 1.1 percent in compensation costs. Locally, wages and salaries, the largest component of compensation costs, advanced at a 2.3-percent pace for the 12-month period ended June 2015. Nationwide, total compensation costs increased 1.9 percent and wages and salaries rose 2.2 percent from June 2014 to June 2015.
The Employment Cost Index for September 2015 is scheduled to be released on Friday, October 30, 2015, at 8:30 a.m. (EDT).
Here's a link to the ECI report >> http://www.bls.gov/regions/west/news-release/employmentcostindex_phoenix.htm

More good data from U.S Department of Commerce Bureau of Economic Analysis from a news release on Friday, September 25, 2015
EMBARGOED UNTIL RELEASE AT 8:30 A.M. EDT, Friday, September 25, 2015 BEA 15—45
National Income and Product Accounts
Gross Domestic Product: Second Quarter 2015 (Third Estimate)
Corporate Profits: Second Quarter 2015 (Revised Estimate)

Real gross domestic product -- the value of the goods and services produced by the nation’s economy less the value of the goods and services used up in production, adjusted for price changes -- increased at an annual rate of 3.9 percent in the second quarter of 2015, according to the "third" estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the first quarter, real GDP increased 0.6 percent.
See whole press release >> http://www.bea.gov/newsreleases/national/gdp/2015/gdp2q15_3rd.htm

26 September 2015

ViewPoints: Arizona Going Global + TransNational > It's All Good

Viewpoints: Arizona is reaching far beyond its borders, sending a clear message that the state is open for business.
It begins like this: 
Arizona is well positioned to further develop economic advantages, cultural exchanges and a foundation for economic growth. Unlike other states that have missed the mark on the development of true public and private partnerships, Arizona is a model of innovative and progressive ideas shaping a bright future and causing global opportunists to strategize on how to get involved here.
. . . Arizona’s exports grew to $21 billion last year, an increase of 34 percent over the same period in 2010, according to the ASU Morrison Institute for Public Policy. Furthermore, the Morrison Institute reports that 88 percent of the companies that exported in 2014 were small- and medium-sized companies.
The list of organizations collaborating to achieve these goals and increase Arizona’s positioning on the global stage is also impressive, including the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Greater Phoenix Economic Council, the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce, Sun Corridor Inc., MAG, Canada Arizona Business Council and many others.
GPEC’s leadership in developing the Velocity business plan and MAG’s BIEN web portal are just some of the collaborative programs enhancing Arizona’s international image. Through such efforts, these non-profit organizations are providing real leadership and communication savvy to global businesses considering expanding in North America and Arizona businesses desiring to conquer foreign markets.
Brett W. Johnson, 3:26 p.m. MST September 25, 2015
(Brett Johnson is vice president of the Phoenix Committee on Foreign Relations and a partner at Snell & Wilmer.)
October 5, 2015 11th Annual International State of the State Luncheon: A Discussion with Governor Doug Ducey: Steering Arizona's Future in International Waters
The Phoenix Committee on Foreign Relations, along with the McCain Institute and the Sandra Day O’Connor Institute, among others, are additional Arizona-based organizations facilitating the dialogue supporting efforts of Arizonans to understand and benefit from international relations.
Due to enhanced technology and integrated economies, an event across the world can have significant impacts in Arizona. Through vibrant discussion and diligent participation, organizations such as PCFR appreciate the benefits of understanding foreign affairs and the desire to shape international opportunities for the benefit of all of Arizona. In addition, PCFR fully understands that many Arizonans need to better understand the various opportunities and programs that are available to them and the importance of encouraging the development of core competencies in foreign relations.
In support of the objective to increase Arizona’s position in foreign relations, PCFR welcomes Governor Ducey as the keynote speaker at its annual International State of the State luncheon on Oct. 5. PCFR looks forward to hearing Governor Ducey’s vision for Arizona as he leads the state and collaborating organizations in developing new cultural and economic opportunities for all Arizonans. See more >> http://www.pcfraz.org/pcfr-events/isos-2015
In a July 2015 article published in the magazine Site Selection 

"Following a difficult diplomatic period beginning in 2010, Arizona has recently redoubled engagement with Mexico, which is linked to a realignment of the state’s economic priorities following the Great Recession and a belief that increased international trade has the potential to create more high-paying jobs for the state’s citizens. Indeed, the state’s Transportation and Trade Corridor Alliance — convened by the Arizona Department of Transportation and comprising public- and private-sector economic stakeholder groups — has recommended that the state should aim to double its trade with Mexico by 2025 to $28 billion in two-way trade. . . . 
Map courtesy AZ Transportation and Trade Corridor Alliance
Toward this end, potential highway and rail projects could bring significant additional commerce through the area and should be prioritized. Stronger efforts are needed to capitalize on potential cross-border synergies in regional industries such as aerospace, agriculture and automobile production."

The US-Mexico Border Economy In Transition
The U.S.-Mexico border — one of the most remarkable stories in the global economy — finds itself in a period of significant transition. In order to continue to enhance the competitive position of the border region, as well as the economic well-being of its inhabitants, policymakers and stakeholders at the local, state, and federal levels will need to better understand and establish policies that help the border region better adapt to global realities and strengthen its role as an engine of growth for the regional economy. In addition, these same actors will need to work together to build more durable regional political coalitions and institutions that can “set the table” for future prosperity.

BIEN: A B2B e-platform [Created by Maricopa Association of Governments]
Building an International Economic Network
“BIEN” means “good” or “right” in Spanish and French. It is also an acronym for “Building an International Economic Network - it is a site is to create a business-to-business e-platform to connect individual businesses across international boundaries. Businesses in Arizona, Mexico and Canada can directly contact each other in order to partner and grow their businesses. By providing information about your products and services, other businesses can see what you offer and find ways to collaborate in mutually-beneficial partnerships.


Arizona is well positioned to further develop economic advantages, cultural exchanges and a foundation for economic growth. Unlike other states that have missed the mark on the development of true public and private partnerships, Arizona is a model of innovative and progressive ideas shaping a bright future and causing global opportunists to strategize on how to get involved here.

25 September 2015

Mission = Informing + Educating The Public

Readers of this blog may wonder what the media and/or press are all about . . .  it's not about getting "spoon-fed" media tip sheets [although they are welcome to see] or playing spin-doctor helper. Whatever is news always has a context; what you see is what you get > or is it?
For example, like this recent article in the Mesa Independent dated September 15, 2015
More than 1 million pounds of fuel in soil removed with steam at former Williams AFB in Mesa
Fuels in soil? . . .  say what? ya mean there's oil discovered here in the desert at a former Air Force Base?? ... and there's a new extraction process using steam technology? NOT.
WAFB has morphed into Phoenix Mesa Gateway Airport - a prime area the City of Mesa is now promoting for economic development  that was a serious hazardous waste site - it's still being "cleaned up"
Read the entire report on the still on-going environmental cleanup >>>

24 September 2015

Along The Sun Corridor: Business, Trade + Economic Development

Image from Joint Planning Advisory Council
The State of Arizona shares a border with the United States of Mexico - perhaps people in Maricopa County don't have too many friendly feelings about that, but we are connected by centuries of cultural exchange and economic development.
The new chains that bind us are transnational supply chains for goods and materials going back-and-forth to respond to the growth in consumer markets across North America.
The ASU Morrison Instistute for Public Policty will be hosting a high-level gathering on business, trade and economic development driven by the growth in consumer markets and supply chains in Mexico, Canada and the U.S. Topics include bilateral initiatives to further integrate supply chains in North America and regional strategies to cultivate cross-border ties and bi-national economic development.

Swift Transportation founder and CEO Jerry Moyes and other high-level executives will share insights on operating in North America and accessing supply chains in a panel moderated by Arizona Commerce Authority CEO Sandra Watson. Federal officials from the U.S., Mexico and Canada, including Tom Guevara from the U.S. Economic Development Administration, will set the stage for greater North American economic connectivity.
An interactive session with business organizations from the Arizona- Sonora region will provide an opportunity for attendees to identify business opportunities and increase cross-border collaboration. 
Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton will address the conference for a welcome followed by Thomas Guevara, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Regional Affairs, Economic Development Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, Ana Luisa Fajer-Flores, Director General for North America, Mexico Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Glenn Williamson, Honorary Consul for Canada, Arizona
This event will illuminate how business leaders from a diverse group of companies select locations for investment and market development, link businesses, researchers and innovators on both sides of border regions; enable communities to identify potential organizations to partner with to advance regional cluster initiatives, and assist stakeholders, particularly those in cross-border regions, in developing successful regional economic development strategies and support regionally vital businesses.
Here's a link to the panelists in their order of appearance at the conference with biographies:https://morrisoninstitute.asu.edu/content/naecc-participant-bios-order-appearance

23 September 2015

Just in from the Newsroom for the City of Mesa:
Office of Economic Development receives state economic development award09-23-2015 at 12:27:12 PM
The City of Mesa’s Office of Economic Development has been honored with a Golden Prospector Award of Merit from the Arizona Association of Economic Development (AAED) for the City of Mesa Technology Brochure. . .
[yes, for a brochure- and 5 days after it happened, but see below]
From OED's webpage: Mesa's Industries of Opportunity
QUESTION: What about Arts/Culture and Creative Place Making? . . . NOT an "industry of opportunity?
Economic Development priorities are guided by Mesa’s industries of opportunity: Healthcare; Education; Aerospace/Aviation/Defense; Tourism/Technology. Building on Mesa’s strengths, quality infrastructure, talented workforce, projected growth and global market trends, the City of Mesa is already realizing significant benefit in each industry space.
See >>> http://www.mesaaz.gov/business/economic-development/key-industries

See Mesa’s Technology Brochure and link to other Industry Profiles at www.tinyurl.com/MesaIndustryProfiles
Office of Economic Development
Contact: Kim Lofgreen
Tel. 480-644-3962

About the Arizona Association of Economic Development
AAED serve as Arizona’s unified voice advocating for responsible economic development through an effective program of professional education, public policy, and collaboration. AAED.com


Headlines: Flash Floods, Free Sandbags + A Tool Kit ?

Imagesfrom Sept 2014 azcentral.com
On September 16, 2015 the Newsroom for the City of Mesa announced:
Mesa honored for environmental excellence
Post Date:09/16/2015 1:27 PM
The City of Mesa’s plan to reduce stormwater runoff and pollution has received one of the top honors at an event known as the “Academy Awards” of the environmental community. Mesa’s Low Impact Development (LID) Toolkit has earned the coveted Crescordia Award for Public Policy/Plans . . .
Readers might wonder what this "toolkit" is - it's a document, a .pdf plan to promote the benefits of Low Impact Development.
The concept and beneficial outcomes of Low Impact Development will get highlighted and encouraged on a future post on this  blog . . . meanwhile, the infrastructure that the City of Mesa brags about has failed - millions of dollars are thrown at cleaning up the problems and damages created by years of bad high impact development for fast growth - the city is not limitless. It's time to recognize that to plan on Smart Growth + Low Impact Development.
Underwater in the Desert Sept 2014

20 September 2015

O Yeah! More Pop-Ups > Community Cinema Changes to Indie Lens Pop-Up!

The City of Mesa Diversity Office has made an announcement:
A New Year Means a New Series of Films!
 We are excited to announce that there is a whole new Independent Film line-up for the coming months.  What used to be Community Cinema Series is now Indie Lens Pop-Up!  Though the name has changed, the series will still offer the same diversity, thought -provoking material that so many have come to love about this unique offering of documentaries.  
About Indie Lens Pop-Up!

 Indie Lens Pop-Up is a neighborhood series that brings people together for film screenings and community-driven conversations. Featuring documentaries seen on the PBS series Independent Lens, Indie Lens Pop-Up draws local residents, leaders, and organizations to discuss what matters most, from newsworthy topics to family and relationships. Make friends, share stories, and join the conversation. Can't attend in person? Find Independent Lens on Facebook for information on our online Pop-Up events.
Save the Date: Thursday, October 15, 2015 at 6:30 pm 
Stray Dog a film by Debra Granik

Winter's Bone director Debra Granik's searching, stereotype shattering documentary focuses on Ron "Stray Dog" Hall.  The movie follows Stray Dog, as he caravans on his Harley from his rural Missouri home to Washington, D.C. with his fellow vets to pay tribute to his fallen brothers at the Vietnam Memorial.  Back home, Ron and his Mexican wife, Alicia, assist her two newly arrived teenage sons, who, like Stray Dog, are striving to find their place in a country that has become foreign.  Stray Dog is at once a powerful look at the veteran experience, a surprising love story, and a fresh exploration of what it takes to survive in the hardscrabble heartland of America.
For a list of this season's films, please visit the City of Mesa Diversity Page! 

17 September 2015

MultipliCITY: Maricopa Association of Governments

This weblog is all about content > Re/Generating The New Urban Downtown Mesa that isn't such a square any more original One-Square Mile - we're outta that box.
Downtown? Where's Uptown? Urban/Sub-Urban?
. . . and what's a city?
Yes we are all connected:: worldwide and in the county
How many of us interact and participate in Governments?
Are you a registered voter or even bother to vote?
Are you staying informed with issues that impact you?
Do you care?

multiplicity [noun]
1. The quality of being made of many different elements, forms, kinds, or individuals:
Biology: polymorphism.
2. An indeterminately great amount or number:
jillion, million (often used in plural), ream, trillion.
Informal: bushel, gob (often used in plural), heap (often used in plural), load (often used in plural), lot, oodles, passel, peck, scad (often used in plural), slew, wad, zillion.
The American Heritage® Roget's Thesaurus. Copyright © 2013, 2014 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
The Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) is a Council of Governments (COG) that serves as the regional planning and policy agency for the metropolitan Phoenix area.When MAG was formed in 1967, the elected officials recognized the need for data driven long-range planning and policy development on a regional scale. They realized that many issues such as transportation, air quality and human services affected residents beyond the borders of their individual jurisdictions.
MAG was founded in the spirit of cooperation. MAG members believe that by uniting, they can solve common problems, take an active role in long-range regional issues and address concerns that affect all of the communities. MAG conducts extensive applied research needed to accomplish its core mission of strengthening the Greater Phoenix region and State of Arizona
MAG is the regional air quality planning agency and metropolitan planning organization for transportation for all jurisdictions in Maricopa County, including the Phoenix urbanized area and the contiguous urbanized area in Pinal County, including the Town of Florence and City of Maricopa. MAG has also been designated by the Governor to serve as the principal planning agency for the region in a number of other areas, including water quality and solid waste management. In addition, through an Executive Order from the Governor, MAG develops population estimates and projections for the region. Extensive primary research aids in this work.
Link to homepage> http://www.azmag.gov/

Regional Council Executive Committee 9/21/2015 Meeting
Date: 9/21/2015 @ 12:00 PM
Location: Ironwood Room, 2nd Floor MAG Offices/Suite 200 302 North 1st Avenue Phx

Please see agenda for details http://www.azmag.gov/Events/Event.asp?CMSID=6971



Urban Mobility | Yes > Light Rail on Main Street > Here's What's Next

On October 14, 2015 the New Cities Foundation will host Cities on the Move, a one-day event exploring the multifaceted nature of urban mobility and its impact on our cities.

Cities on the Move will take place at the Google headquarters in London, following a successful first edition in Mountain View, California in 2014.
We will gather 150 of the most forward thinking researchers and practitioners from economics, sociology, architecture and design, policy, finance and technology to discuss the changing nature of urban mobility.

Paper Series: Re-imagining Urban Mobility

To complement Cities on the Move, we invited participants and other thought leaders to contribute short papers on the mobility needs facing cities globally. Find out more below. 
 Organized by the New Cities Foundation and hosted by Google, with support from Ericsson and Transdev

Re-Imagining Urban Mobility
Urban Mobility Article Series
Go to this link for all the articles to read and download: http://www.newcitiesfoundation.org/cities-on-the-move/

What Works: Highlights Film from New Cities
2015 Summit

15 September 2015

Mesa-based Able Engineering & Aerospace Continues to Grow

From a press release dated 14 September:
Able Goes Big in Canada: Signs Rotor Link as In-Country Distributor
Source: Able Aerospace Services Sep 14, 2015
MESA, Arizona (September 14, 2015) – A new agreement between Able Aerospace and Vancouver based Rotor Link has established “in country” availability of Able’s comprehensive PMA offerings and full line of rotor wing components. Under the agreement, RotorLink will serve as Able’s distributor and logistics coordinator in Canada.
The Able-RotorLink agreement strengthens Able’s position in the Canadian market, where it already serves – and is focused on continuing to grow – a broad base of fixed-wing and rotor-wing clients.

Readers will note that Able is located at Phoenix Mesa Gateway Airport, a hub of defense and aerospace industries that are some of the region's biggest employers of people who choose to live and buy homes in the multiplicity of Mesa, Queen Creek and San Tan Valley.

Mayors of these municipalities can be viewed in the image to the left at on occasion in December of last year from Able's account on Twitter.

CEO Lee Benson
Your MesaZona blogger was pleasantly surprised that a big enterprise like Able Engineering & Aerospace cares about the wellness of its staff - Wellness programs offer the opportunity for companies to improve their employees’ lives and reduce costs. 
Able Engineering is a shining example of this truth featured in an article in May 2015

Two years ago Lee Benson appeared on Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/69515312


Recovery from The Great Recession? Mesa Ranked at #143

With a new Q3 Economic Report from the City of Mesa Office for Economic Development for July-September due to be published after the end of this month, the same organization Wallet Hub that rated Mesa #1 for retirement places now puts the city close to the bottom on the list for recovery.
For many Americans today, the Great Recession is nothing more than the distant shadow of a troubled economic past. The longest downturn since the Great Depression officially ended six years ago . . . To measure the progress of local economies since the financial crisis and how much work remains to be done in the name of recovery, WalletHub compared the 150 largest U.S. cities across 17 key economic indicators.
Rank for  Mesa = 143

14 September 2015

Plan Ahead > Next Month 2nd Friday Night Out


Why is it, dear readers, that on certain days of the month Night Time + Nights Out make the streets of the New Urban Downtown Mesa come alive?
Whaddya mean - they're usually dead during the day?
Well, let's just say it's a different scene and cooler.
A Block Party that goes on for more than one block? Hmmm . . . it started like that.
A Pop-Up Event?
For sure, with ten bands and sixty artist/handmade crafts enterprises incubating right before your eyes - here for one night with maybe some other tangible benefits.
It's a strategy in the urban planner's toolbox that attracts people.
Some brick-and-mortar retail businesses say these nights are their biggest nights for customer traffic and sales. One estimate, that will no doubt have to get updated after Valley Metro Light Rail going into operation, is a figure of $19,000 in increased sales on event days.
See this link for 2nd Friday Night Out

Mark Your Calendar: Fundraiser for New Documentary by Bruce Nelson

Image courtesy of NEDCO
Volstead Public House will be the venue on October 3 from 7-9 pm to stage a fundraiser for the completion of a new here-in-Mesa production by artist/documentary film maker Bruce Nelson.
The world-famous Nile Theater, cited here on MesaZona in a post on July 24th as an early example of Creative Place Making [1924 when it opened], will be the focus for the sense of place this Main Street location has generated for over 90 years with the people that made that happen in a script and stories developed by the same Mesa-born talent who produced "North Town" featured in a post on this site on June 13th.
In a telephone conversation with Bruce he stated that more funding and support will be useful and welcome to continue researching source materials in historical archives, interviewing first-person accounts about the Nile Theater over decades of change and transformation in the location, then recording and filming and editing the finished documentary that will cover nearly everything from the era of silent films, traveling productions, Saturday kids' movies and up to the current roster of music performances staged by the Mantooth Group.

Bruce gratefully acknowledged being selected as a Ripple Grant recipient from NEDCO, with early additional financial support from Pomeroy's, the Farnsworth family and research help from Sarah Morehead.
Other benefactors are encouraged, either at the October 3rd Fundraiser or contributions can be sent to:
NEB Productions
POB 802
Mesa, AZ 85211

For more information, questions, or letting the producer know about Mesa residents who have stories they want to be heard, please email: niletheaterdocumentary@gmail.com

Here's a link to the Facebook page:

Jennifer Disbrow on the staff of NEDCO had this to say:
We are so excited to support Bruce's documentary on the Nile Theater. He came to us with a great head start on the research which showed how thorough and detailed the film had the potential to be.
It is great to be able to focus on a local theater with so much history that represents a space for community to gather and celebrate the arts.
Ripple grants support projects that use artistic expression to celebrate local business and engage community members, and the Nile Theater: An Oasis in the Desert is a wonderful example of this.

Readers of this blog can read more about Creative Place Making in  a previous post on this site dated August 6 - you'll find a link to the full playlist.

11 September 2015

Play Ball: Sports Tourism Arizona Cactus League Scores Big Numbers

At the same time that questions are being asked about taxpayer-subsidized financing of sports stadiums as engines of local economic development, two new widely different reports on tourism benefits and impact on the Metro Phoenix economy appeared yesterday: one in the Phoenix Business Journal and another in the Arizona Republic.
Seems like major Arizona news media are all loading the bases with covering good things about The Cactus League, even if the figures or studies or dollar amounts might differ, at least they're in the same ballpark numbers.

10 September 2015

It's A Wonder! Mesa Bread Bakery Acquired for $120 Million

Alpine Valley Breads at 300 E Southern Avenue, started nineteen years ago by a health-conscience family with young children, had a vision to bake bread that was nutritious, natural, organic, and flavorful.
It's an interesting turn of events and a big change in consumer buying preferences that Flower Foods, the big baked goods distribution conglomerate that acquired the Hostess empire with its brands Twinkles and Wonder Bread for $360 Million in 2013, has recently been on a very big buying spree for bakers of whole grain, natural, nonGmo, organic and kosher-certified bread bakeries: $120 Million for Alpine Valley Breads just a couple of days ago and Dave's Killer Breads for $275 Million last month.

Who knows, in spite of the wide popularity of Wonder Bread [who doesn't remember peanut butter/jelly sandwiches packed in their school lunch boxes?]
The family wanted something else: A bread that was free from artificial ingredients, chemicals and preservatives. Their philosophy was simple; great bread is made with just five carefully selected ingredients, whole grains, salt, yeast, water, and honey.

In 1995 Alpine Valley Bread opened the first bakery in a strip mall in Mesa, Arizona and soon captured a growing local market and loyal customers. Opportunity knocked in 1996, Alpine Valley Breads were now being sold in grocery stores. As demand increased Swiss Oven Bakery joined the Alpine Valley Bread group in 2003. Together, Alpine Valley Bread and Swiss Oven were able to provide the right bakery product to a wide range of customers and still maintain our excellence in quality and service.
Today we are proud to say that after two facility moves from the strip mall, Alpine Valley Breads has flourished to a nation-wide customer base. We are recognized as a leading producer of certified organic and All Natural breads in the United States. We continue to expand into new markets and we have remained true to our beginning philosophy of baking great nutritious, natural, organic, and flavorful breads, from the finest carefully selected ingredients.

[Information from company's website alpinevalley.com]

The company believes in giving back to the community when possible in a big way - over forty organizations benefit from Alpine Valley Breads generous philanthropy as you can see from a list on their site.
Readers might also take notice that the company employs 282 with projected income of $95 Million for 2015 . . .
That's a lot of bread, folks.

The Restoration | Now You Know

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