Revitalizing downtown Mesa
Downtown Mesa can be revitalized. It needs a 'draw'. Something to bring people out, spend their money and KEEP them there past 9pm.
1. Use the Arts Center and one of the theaters as a movie theater (current movies). This brings them out and introduces them to the Arts center and downtown (for those who have not been to the center.
2. Regardless of what some may think of the activity, there needs to be 'adult' entertainment. A club similar to "Eli's" in Scottsdale. (no ****...just adult drinking and dancing). No teens. You would get people from the fringes of Tempe, Gilbert, Chandler in addition. Mesa people want to go out and have fun too, why send them over to Scottsdale or Tempe to do it? Keep them here to spend their money.
Laura Baer commented
I agree that we need to focus on a way to revitalize and repurpose downtown Mesa. It has the charm and potential that make places like the Sugar House district in Salt Lake City, Utah and downtown Flagstaff so wonderful. If you look at either location, you will see a wide variety of places to eat/drink, shop, exercise, and they are all places people can walk to, bike to, or just spend the day strolling. This brings foot traffic and new clientele for businesses.
Pioneer Park, would be a perfect place to have weekend Farmer’s Markets. If people are not willing to have just a “bar” in downtown Mesa, how about something like a brewery that will be a destination for lunch, dinner, and for people to visit with friends? There could be coffee shops, bakeries, restaurants, boutiques, and yoga studios that patrons can walk or bike to making it environmentally friendly and boosting the economy in Mesa. It is the perfect area to allure people who are willing and wanting to spend time & money supporting local businesses. It would be nice to see people walking the streets of Mesa and enjoying all of the beautiful months Arizona has to offer, both during the day and night all week & weekend long.
It is not an impossible mission. We just have to follow through. The POOL Together project was such a great idea, but ended up being an incredible let down. We need to maintain community and get the area to be a beautiful place people want to spend their time. Not just making it another box shop/restaurant that will be another empty space in six months. We need something that will last. There is so much history in Mesa and it is becoming such a waste. I would love a place to spend the day with my family, in our neighborhood, instead of heading to Kierland Commons in Scottsdale or San Tan Village in Gilbert.
I agree with Daniel. Cant have the silver bullet mentality. Plus, putting in the same attractions as other downtowns does not always work. You have to create a cohesive identity. One that is unique to its place, climate and social atmosphere. The other problem is the competition outside of downtown Mesa, ie. Riverview, Fiesta, tempe, scottsdale and so forth. You have to find a nitch and grass roots leadership to revitalize downtown, not more of the same.
David Yauch commented
I agree with your sentiment, but the Cubs already had a great (and relatively new) ballpark at Hohokam. The reason they moved was to find space to build their retail. Telling them they need to move some place where they can't build the retail just puts us back at square one, and I highly doubt the folks in Naples would seriously turn the Cubs down if they came calling...
It's unfortunate that Riverview has been selected for the cubs stadium. Riverview Park is heavily used by the local residents, the City complains that the golf course loses money. I suggest expanding the park and placing the stadium downtown. Better access with upcoming light rail and will breathe new life into the area. The City already owns much of the land at Mesa Drive and University. While the area isn't "big" enough for the Cubs owners to build their retail space, there is certainly plenty of existing downtown business that would benefit. Since taxpayers are paying for it seems only fair to support the community as a whole, not just a special interest group.
David Yauch commented
A movie theatre is likely impossible. It is too close to Riverview and likely wouldn't meet the clearance requirements for the major studios. It is already a very rare event that theatres as close as Tempe Marketplace and Riverview are both allowed to show first run movies.
The MAC is a great venue, and really isn't the problem we need to focus on. It receives very little support in the way of other strong attractions. The MAC alone can't create a cultural desitination.
Importantly, we should focus on things that the city can do. Cleaning up main street years back was a great first step, but the city took a huge step backwards into harassing "Motorcycles on Main" into shutting down due to a very, very small minority who continued to voice frivilous complaints in the face of reasonable compromise. It is hard to help business owners who don't want to help themselves.
they need clubs, bars, restaurants, shopping centers, etc.. plus open up those museums past 5pm.. who the heck goes in the morning dont ppl have 2 work....
Daniel Wohlslagel / Duke Manor Mesa commented
These are all great ideas, but you can't "make" them happen without creating an identity and a cohesive plan for the downtown area that people- consumers and businesses alike- can identify with.
Shoppers aren't going to travel from a different community and businesses aren't going to take a chance on downtown, without understanding what to expect.
It has been demonstrated previously that a single anchor can't revitalize the downtown area without the culture to support it. The MAC is a world class Arts Center that cost over $100 million, but there still aren't residentsliving/working downtown to be part of the culture.
...and the downtown area absolutely can't support any more restaurants/ retail until we attract a demographic to the area that supports them regularly/ after city employees go home.
The Downtown area will not be energized by homespun restaurants or quilts/crafts, nor franchise eateries/movie theaters. People simply aren't compelled to leave their own neighborhoods for identical things they have nearby.
Downtown Mesa needs to create a specific experience that it will offer to consumers- this will come from creating an identity for the area that will guide all of the design, branding, marketing, and advertising. It is a complex and deliberate process that doesn't just happen organically.
I like those 2 ideas. A nice nighttime draw. Now let's work on the daytime draw of employment centers. I also like the other threads/ideas about MCC becoming a 4 year college w/ research departments and the idea of several business incubators each with a different focus being set up in Mesa.