Last year, Old Town faced what many of us considered a threat to its distinctive Western ambiance and history.
The 4020 building, located in Old Town was scheduled for renovation. The contemporary architecture had been approved by the Development Review Board. But many merchants felt the architecture did not fit with Old Town.
We took input from residents, merchants and the developer. The Council decided to send the project back to the DRB. It will be a better project today because it respects our vision for Old Town.
Let it be clearly understood, as your Mayor, I will continue to work to protect the architectural integrity and historic nature of Old Town.
And in the coming weeks we will be presented with the updated Downtown Plan. I look forward to its adoption to help guide our decisions in the coming years.
In the words of management guru Peter Drucker "The best way to predict the future is to create it." This has been Scottsdale’s philosophy from its beginning and is true today.
The "Scottsdale Way" is rooted far back in our history. At the first Scottsdale City Council meeting in 1951, one of the main topics of conversation was the Western design of buildings in the Downtown. They were talking about an economic vision for the Downtown -- as a Western-themed district that would draw tourists. They wanted businesses and government to work together to achieve that vision.
The rest, as they say, is history. The idea worked so well that Scottsdale’s resort and tourism industry today is world famous.
That's an enormously important lesson to draw from our past. From the very beginning, this community has seen its city government as a partner for strategic collaboration.
Fast-forward a half-century, and today we are standing in the middle of another example of the same philosophy. This canal now forms the centerpiece of a Downtown renaissance because the city, property owners and creative developers held on to a vision, despite economic downturns and a heavy dose of cynicism about the future of this area. It took city leadership willing to disband improvement districts, but also willing to step up to the plate to improve Downtown services, invest in parking structures and infrastructure, establish business incentive systems and invest in these canal banks. It was well worth it.