Scottsdale has had a few things on its plate lately. Brutal hits to tourism, its largest industry. Then there was the looting of its citadel. So it can be excused for not paying enough attention to its Arts District. But it needs to. Because there were obvious challenges long before last year’s double whammy.
Inattention reminds us why some type of district system would be wise for the city. With 7 at-large councilmembers, problems like struggling art galleries can become the responsibility of the group. But without a single or a few champions, good results rarely occur.
If the Arts District were a key part of one councilmember’s district it would surely become important enough for that representative to advocate for help and changes to aid one of the key facets of Scottsdale.
Instead, these problems languish. And now the heart of Main Street boasts a new Thai massage parlor. Of course, we are exaggerating the stereotype but we think the street and its credentialed tenants deserve better and happier endings.
Some may say this is just the private sector at work. The marketplace is what it is. Adam Smith should always be consulted and respected. Yet, would Scottsdale be the better if its Arts District doesn’t survive and thrive? No.
Whatever soft hand the City of Phoenix has used to aid the redevelopment of its incredible Roosevelt Row while still maintaining the integrity and grit that made it attractive in the first place, is a model for Scottsdale to follow.
How can we help? That should be said more and often by city leaders to the best and brightest in the Arts District. They have good ideas. Listen. Then act. Before it’s too late.