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dtnphx Nov 3, 2010 10:33 PM

Downtown dog park a new focus for mayor amid Ramada Inn dispute

Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon says he is willing to help downtown residents find a site for a dog park - but it can't be the newly razed site of the old Ramada Inn despite what neighbors want.

Today, Gordon announced the creation of a volunteer ad hoc committee to work on finding a site downtown for a dog park. He says residents can volunteer to be on the task force by applying online before 5 p.m. Friday, Nov. 5.

The link will either be on the mayor's page, or on the committee application website.

Neighbors want to turn part of the former Ramada Inn site near Taylor and First streets into a dog park. The St. Croix Villas Homeowners Association has an appeal pending with the Board of Adjustment challenging a zoning officer's five-year parking lot designation for the Ramada site, which the city purchased for more than $6 million with a voter-approved bond issue and a portion of the Sheraton Hotel's capital improvement fund.

The parking lot would serve two major nearby businesses. Channel 12 News would park its satellite trucks in the lot, which are too tall to fit into a low-clearance garage. The Sheraton Hotel wants to use the parking lot as overflow for visitors and employees.

City officials say the parking lot would give ASU time to raise money to build a law school

The St. Croix Villas HOA hopes the board will split the 2-acre property, which the city purchased for a future Arizona State University law school. But no one knows when the law school will be built; ASU is still raising funds for the project.

The HOA's Board of Adjustment hearing is tomorrow, Thursday, at noon in City Council Chambers, 200 W. Jefferson St.

Gordon has met twice this week to discuss other dog park options with Sean Sweat, a downtown resident and treasurer for the St. Croix Villas HOA. With help from other residents, Sweat has collected dozens of signatures for a petition in favor of the dog park plan for the Ramada site.

- Emily Gersema, emily.gersema@arizonarepublic.com


Gee, where could we put such a park in such a dense downtown? Oh, I don't know - FUC**NG ABSOLUTELY ANYWHERE! There's more dirt in Downtown Phoenix than all the rodeo grounds in the country. Thanks to Sean for pushing working on this.

PHX31 Nov 3, 2010 11:39 PM

yeah, the city has razed (and now owns) so much of the historic areas in the immediate downtown area, which are just empty lots. If someone wants to cry themselves to sleep, check out the 1930s aerials of Phoenix from this website (go to the historic aerial link):

http://www.fcd.maricopa.gov/GIS/maps.aspx

So much good was just destroyed.

bwonger06 Nov 4, 2010 12:16 AM

Nvm

Anyways, would you guys rather see built around MTH Park or at an empty lot?

There is so much land at MTH, it just make sense to use some of it for a dog park. Plus I rather see the city make one Park right before starting another urban one.

Edit- Anyone go to today's MTH planning meeting?

HooverDam Nov 4, 2010 5:26 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bwonger06 (Post 5041980)
Nvm

Anyways, would you guys rather see built around MTH Park or at an empty lot?

There is so much land at MTH, it just make sense to use some of it for a dog park. Plus I rather see the city make one Park right before starting another urban one.

Edit- Anyone go to today's MTH planning meeting?

I was there, Ill be there again on the one on the 10th at Burton Barr, everyone should come out.

I'm not sure its really an either/or situation. Downtown needs thousands more residents, but they're not going to come until the infrastructure and 'stuff' is there first.

Its the opposite of the 'burbs where people will buy a house in the middle of nowhere and be willing to drive back to Target/Frys/wherever until newer stuff is built out by them. To attract more people to urban living in Phoenix we've got to have urbanity, parks a part of that.

We need a lot more small pocket type parks in Phoenix, they make good sense for our climate (small turf areas) and help with the heat island. Hance Park is tricky with a dog park b/c you can't put it by the single family homes on the West side of the park b/c the neighbors are concerned about dog noise. Additionally, most of those people have yards anyhow, so who's going to use it? You're forcing people from the South and East of the park to take a rather long trek to get to it.

There's really no good reason not to put some open space/dog park where Sean Sweat & Co. want to do it other than that the Mayor & ASU have their minds set on something and they think they know what's best. A dog park/open space there would help create the "Connected Oasis" that the Urban Forum project promised.

There are already plans to narrow 1st Street/improve it for pedestrians. The dog park off Taylor would align with that, as well as with Hance to the North. Additionally it could go South and connect to the open space just East of CityScape that I've advocated for. That means 1st Street could create a strong pedestrian connection from the heart of Downtown, through Hance, through Cancer Survivors Park & up to the Art museum. Then the Taylor Mall of course connects West to the Civic Space.

Anyway, everyone needs to come out to the meeting on the 10th. We need more (young, forward thinking) people there who will tell the city two important things, 1. dream big and 2. put a great diversity of uses into the park.

Tonight two older (stupid) gentlemen from Cable One and from the Jewish Center there threw a fit over the potential of a skate park and basketball court in the park. They said "this should be an arts & cultural park, we don't want that kind of element in the park." So in other words, they want the park to be looked at, not used by kids and young people (you know, the people who actually use fucking parks!)

EDIT: Since a picture is worth a thousand words, here's what I meant above:
http://img838.imageshack.us/img838/8...ectedoasis.png

In a future phase you could continue 1st street improvements South to Central Park, which is along that same axis. Likewise for Midtown 3rd Street needs to be put on a "road diet" and improved between Hance & Steele, with Monterey Park between.

bwonger06 Nov 4, 2010 6:21 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by HooverDam (Post 5042332)
EDIT: Since a picture is worth a thousand words, here's what I meant above:
http://img838.imageshack.us/img838/8...ectedoasis.png

In a future phase you could continue 1st street improvements South to Central Park, which is along that same axis. Likewise for Midtown 3rd Street needs to be put on a "road diet" and improved between Hance & Steele, with Monterey Park between.

Sounds like a great idea. Hopefully this spurs development between Pierce and Roosevelt because there are a lot of cool restaurants in that area.

Kroney Nov 4, 2010 6:23 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bwonger06 (Post 5041980)
Nvm

Anyways, would you guys rather see built around MTH Park or at an empty lot?

There is so much land at MTH, it just make sense to use some of it for a dog park. Plus I rather see the city make one Park right before starting another urban one.

I like your idea of putting the dog park at or near Hance Park. In fact, a great place to put it would be in that city owned dirt lot that sits just south of the Japanese Friendship Garden's parking lot (east of Third Ave & Latham). The benefits are 1) one less dirt lot, 2) I suspect the park would get used more in this location vs. the Ramada location - it has Portland Place, Roosevelt Square, Roosevelt, Willo, and FQ residents nearby. The Ramada location has St Croix, The Met, and Alta nearby and that's really it... unless ASU students are allowed pets in the dorms and, 3) The lot size is about equal to what was proposed on the Ramada lot.

bwonger06 Nov 4, 2010 7:14 AM

In some non-development news, DPJ just launched a new website

http://www.downtownphoenixjournal.com/

glynnjamin Nov 4, 2010 7:43 PM

There are a couple of problems with the MTH park site. For one, it's not really downtown. I mean, it is, but I think a lot of us regard the park as the thing that divided the downtown from the neighborhoods. Secondly, the residents of 44 Monroe, Summit, and pretty much every building south of Van Buren would have a bit of a hike to get there. Not saying that's a bad thing but it aint a short walk.

Finally, I have addressed adding a dog park to MTH park multiple times with the Parks Dept manager and with the Mayor. Every time, they give me some stipulation about the park needing to have more than X number of acres before a dog park can be put in and MTH isn't big enough.

Again, they bend the rules for everything else so why wouldn't they bend the rules here? But still...

HooverDam Nov 4, 2010 9:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by glynnjamin (Post 5043041)
Finally, I have addressed adding a dog park to MTH park multiple times with the Parks Dept manager and with the Mayor. Every time, they give me some stipulation about the park needing to have more than X number of acres before a dog park can be put in and MTH isn't big enough.

Again, they bend the rules for everything else so why wouldn't they bend the rules here? But still...

They're apparently no longer caring about that rule. All the meetings about MTH I've been to include talks about a dog park. I think I'd prefer a 'dog run' to a full fledge 'dog park' at MTH since most of the people directly adjacent to the park have yards of their own and don't need a dog park per se.

EDIT: SPeaking of Hance Park, I was able to get these 2 interesting images from a guy at the City showing the Carousel that was once slated for Hance and the original park vision, kinda neat:

http://img522.imageshack.us/img522/4370/mth.jpg

http://img253.imageshack.us/img253/6471/mth2.jpg

exit2lef Nov 6, 2010 12:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bwonger06 (Post 5042395)
In some non-development news, DPJ just launched a new website

http://www.downtownphoenixjournal.com/

They also a launched a new print magazine with sponsorship from the Phoenix Community Alliance.

Vicelord John Nov 6, 2010 5:22 PM

My only thought on this whole dog park thing is that the people who want it south of roosevelt are a bunch of selfish pricks. If placed at at the freeway or further north, it can be utilized by a much larger bunch of people. The population immediately downtown is just too small.

HX_Guy Nov 6, 2010 7:34 PM

Looks like the dog park idea for the old Ramada site is dead and the parking lot is going forward.

http://downtowndevil.com/2010/11/05/...-park-hearing/

I guess there is a stipulation that there must be a min. of 100 trees on the site, is that considered a lot for a 2 acre site?

HooverDam Nov 7, 2010 4:52 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Vicelord John (Post 5045432)
My only thought on this whole dog park thing is that the people who want it south of roosevelt are a bunch of selfish pricks. If placed at at the freeway or further north, it can be utilized by a much larger bunch of people. The population immediately downtown is just too small.

You mean north of the freeway where most people have single family homes and yards and thus less of a need for a dog park?

Like I explained before, parks are part of infrastructure. They're part of whats needed to be built downtown first in order to entice development to follow. Unfortunately urban development rarely works like suburban development where people will move somewhere and then wait for things to be built, those things need to be there first.

Phxguy Nov 8, 2010 3:22 AM

Anybody know what was happening here yesterday at Van Buren and 1st st?

http://i508.photobucket.com/albums/s...2/DSCF6808.jpg

Vicelord John Nov 8, 2010 3:28 AM

Hoover they may have yards or may not, you do know that there are a LOT of apartments between the 7's and Indian School and McDowell, right? There are infinitely more people living in midtown than downtown, and while I agree about infrastructure, it's too soon right now IMO.

The red crane is there for equipment at the computer building. I understand it's cooling equipment.

plinko Nov 8, 2010 3:36 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Vicelord John (Post 5046797)
The red crane is there for equipment at the computer building. I understand it's cooling equipment.

This is exactly what I was going to guess. The inside of that building is kind of staggering in terms of equipment.

I once designed some new entries and canopies for that building (in like 2000). Unfortunately they never got built. I might have some images somewhere.

exit2lef Nov 8, 2010 1:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by HX_Guy (Post 5045552)
Looks like the dog park idea for the old Ramada site is dead and the parking lot is going forward.

http://downtowndevil.com/2010/11/05/...-park-hearing/

I guess there is a stipulation that there must be a min. of 100 trees on the site, is that considered a lot for a 2 acre site?

That stipulation, along with a two-year review, was added by the lone member of the Board of Adjustment who cast a dissenting vote in opposition to the use permit for the parking lot. It seems like he was doing his best to make the city keep its promises about landscaping even if a parking lot does happen there. I wouldn't assume this matter is over, though. The St. Croix Villas HOA is indicating an intention to take this to the next level, which is Superior Court.

Leo the Dog Nov 8, 2010 2:08 PM

While the idea of yet another parking lot/structure DT is crazy...Did anyone seriously think the city was going to spend millions to demo the Ramada structure to build an under-utilized dog park? The city-owned Sheraton has been pushing for over-flow parking since it opened. The city funded/built a 1000 room convention style hotel, huge ballrooms to hold local events, with 200 parking spaces, terrible design.

This dog park would never happen bc politically it would be suicide. Just look how much controversy occurred when the civic space park was built for human use.

Don B. Nov 8, 2010 7:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by exit2lef (Post 5047137)
That stipulation, along with a two-year review, was added by the lone member of the Board of Adjustment who cast a dissenting vote in opposition to the use permit for the parking lot. It seems like he was doing his best to make the city keep its promises about landscaping even if a parking lot does happen there. I wouldn't assume this matter is over, though. The St. Croix Villas HOA is indicating an intention to take this to the next level, which is Superior Court.

With what funds? Unless this HOA has more money than sense, they'd better get a vote from the homeowners first. You are talking about a $12,000 to $20,000 expenditure at the minimum, and I'm having trouble understanding their basis for an appeal. They lack standing, for one thing. They don't own or abut the subject parcel of land, and their argument that the city's ruling negatively impacts their land's value is specious in today's day and age.

--don

exit2lef Nov 9, 2010 7:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Don B. (Post 5047501)
With what funds? Unless this HOA has more money than sense, they'd better get a vote from the homeowners first. You are talking about a $12,000 to $20,000 expenditure at the minimum, and I'm having trouble understanding their basis for an appeal. They lack standing, for one thing. They don't own or abut the subject parcel of land, and their argument that the city's ruling negatively impacts their land's value is specious in today's day and age.

--don

I don't know much about the finances or the internal politics of the HOA, so I can't really answer your question. The leader of the effort, Sean, explains his position in this video and indicates he is accepting contributions for the court fight:

http://www.xtranormal.com/watch/7611695/


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