Guest Editorial: The SCOTT Perspective

The Lastest Newsletter from The Scottsdale Coalitions of Today and Tomorrow

A solid lineup for Scottsdale

In the coming days we’ll start hearing the phrase “pitchers and catchers reporting,” the alert that tells us spring training baseball is about to begin.

It’s a phrase reminiscent of “drivers, start your engines,” which opens the Indy 500 race every year and unleashes the energy and excitement that follows that event.

Spring training baseball also starts one of Scottsdale’s major economic engines. But it’s more than that. It’s part of the city’s DNA, much the same way the Indy 500 is part of the culture of Indianapolis.

In Scottsdale, the month of March is magical as visitors and residents alike flock to Old Town, opening their wallets as well as their eyes to what the city’s core has to offer year-round.

This March will be important for another reason as the City Council decides what to do about upgrading Scottsdale Stadium. It’s in need of renovations to accommodate the San Francisco Giants, who call it home during the spring. It also will be a chance to expand the capabilities of the stadium for multi-purpose uses other times of the year.

As part of the renovations, the city will need to extend the contract between the three partners that make March baseball happen: the city, the Giants and the Scottsdale Charros.

All three have a stake in the outcome and all three will need to invest in making it happen. While the formulas and funding details are worked out over the next few weeks, residents and city leaders should not take for granted the role the Charros play and the impact they deliver for the city.

The Charros, a non-profit group of business and civic volunteers, have hosted Spring Training Baseball at Scottsdale Stadium since 1961, working with five major-league teams since then. During their partnership with the Giants alone, the Charros have been able to return $16 million to hundreds of local charities, with an emphasis on public education.

The three-way partnership clearly delivers huge benefits for the city. Some have called it the most effective public-private partnerships in sports. It is one worth preserving.

The reality is the stadium needs the upgrades to the tune of $60 million or so. Much of that will come from the city’s tourism bed tax but the Giants and Charros are expected to contribute, too.

This is one of the rare issues the city faces that has a wide range of support, from residents to leaders alike. It’s a chance for the city to sustain and grow an important asset for the next generation. We’ve seen few issues over the past year or two that can unite the city. This is one that everyone can support.

Museum Square a win, too

There’s another issue working its way through the city approval process that has the potential to be a winner for Old Town.

That is the Museum Square project. Much like Scottdale Stadium, this project would be solid economic engine for the core of the city for generations to come.

Macdonald Development Co. out of Canada has plans to build a mixed-use development
as well as a community park on the site of the mothballed Loloma Transit Center. The open space proposed in the plan could host events and gatherings, giving visitors exposure to the Museum of the West next door. It may even open doors to expansion of the museum, a world-class facility.

City Council already voted – unanimously – to approve the sale of the land to Macdonald for about $32 million. This comes at a time when the city is struggling trying to find solutions to fund much needed capital infrastructure improvements.

It has the backing of the Scottsdale Gallery Association, which would benefit from more visitors to the area, as well nearly all the merchants in the area. They recognize the need to bring more people to Old Town throughout the year. This would help do it.

One city insider calls Museum Square the most significant project to hit Old Town in the past 15 years.

Scottsdale Stadium and the Museum Square projects both have potential to be positive developments that could unite, not divide, the city. Are they two stepping stones to a new era of unity across the city? Even small steps? You need to start somewhere. Given the recent past, we welcome both as solid boosts for the city and look for more opportunities ahead that can build community consensus and unity.

Issues & Experts Forum

“What’s next in the Art district in Old Town Scottsdale” is the topic for the next Issues & Experts Forum, hosted by the Scottsdale Independent and sponsored by SCOTT and Scottsdale Community College. Distinguished panelists from the Arts community will share their thoughts and information on this issue.

The forum will be held from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, March 6 in the Turquoise Room at the Scottsdale Community College, 9000 E. Chaparral Road. 
RSVP via email: at the door.


Indian Bend Wash Update

The City of Scottsdale is in the process of developing a master plan for Vista del Camino and Eldorado Parks, located in the Indian Bend Wash. 

The first of three public meetings/workshops for the general community participation was held Wednesday, January 9th.  If you did not attend the meeting and want to share your thoughts with the project team, complete the master plan questionnaire.