Yesterday one of Arizona’s great self-congratulators, Zach Rawlings, announced a purported solution to the rancor he has caused in the Arcadia area. There he remarkably transformed a noble effort to save and preserve the David Wright House, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, into an exercise in noblesse oblige.
So worthy was he that he should be entitled to run over the concerns of neighbors and utilize the property for concerts and commercial activity. Arcadia neighbors and Phoenix Councilman Sal Diciccio had none of it.
So yesterday Rawlings announced his grand solution: some type of partnership with what was formerly known as the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture and a tax-write off for himself to the Arizona Community Foundation.
Curiously, he didn’t invite any neighbors to celebrate his victory vision, probably because his acolytes contend the place will still be a place of intense activity, attracting upwards of “30,000 people annually.”
At the heart of the announcement while balloons adorned the building was and is the notion that supporters of the Taliesin architecture school will be able to raise upwards of $7 million to let Rawlings out of his controversial Arcadia corner.
This will be a tall order since the organization has never proven to be a prolific fundraiser. Nevertheless, it sparked an idea. If things Frank Lloyd Wright are looking to lance community boils there’s another place it could turn its attention: Scottsdale. And the proposed Desert Discovery Center (DDC).
Opposition to that intrusion in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve has caused an uproar that makes Rawlings’ misreading of Arcadia look docile. Indeed, the Valley has rarely seen a more foreceful and intense grassroots opposition to anything. Even in this hot summer month the “NODDC” group has announced several events, some to crash those organized by Desert Discovery Center supporters. That’s chutzpah. And smart.
With the public very much on the side of opponents it begs the question where DDC intrepids think this will all end?
Fortunately, a solution can and should be at hand, courtesy of the nimble fingers of Frank Lloyd Wright.
Beautifully situated near the McDowell Sonoran Preserve sits Taliesin West, Mr. Wright’s winter home. It’s already a proven tourist attraction, something the Desert Discovery Center never will be.
So why not relocate the DDC to Talisen West? There, as Mr. Wright did, a celebration of man and God could occur, ensuring taxpayers get a bang for their buck with a proven commodity like Taliesin West rather than a penny stock idea like the DDC.
The desert could be celebrated, a known tourism center enhanced and a political controversy popped.
It’s a win-win-win. If only inertia could allow the few remaining DDC enthusiasts to see it. From Arcadia. Or Scottsdale.