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Friday, August 18, 2017

What SoPho Can Become

“We create and promote a safe, clean, live-work, pedestrian friendly community that showcases South Mountain Sonoran Preserve, Rio Salado’s Riparian Habitat and connectivity to Downtown Phoenix.”

This is what Between the 7’s in South Phoenix (SoPho) can become. And although It’s a challenging time for our Country, State, the City of Phoenix and the people who call this great city home. We have an enormous opportunity as residents to help set an example for the rest of the city to follow. My Mom would often say, “When challenges come, opportunities shortly follow.”

I have been writing the Between the 7’s article for almost 4 years now and most of you know that I have written many times about The Central Arizona region expecting substantial growth. The projection are that by the year 2050 we can expect six million new residents and three million new jobs. I’m not sure if this projection will become a reality but regardless we have a chance to prepare and plan for the future.

In SoPho we might not have the billions of dollars in investment that have built Downtown over the past 5 years for projects like the Bio-Science campus anchored by T-Gen and the U of A College of medicine, the Arizona State University Downtown campus, Valley Metro Light Rail line, the $600 million expansion of Phoenix Civic Plaza and Symphony Hall, the 1000 room Sheraton and many major skyscraper projects that have been built or are being finished.

What we do have is location, location, and location! Between the 7’s is from 7th Avenue to 7th Street and from Rio Salado to the South Mountain Preserve. This area is one mile in width and 4.3 mile in length. While the transformation of Downtown is still happening our community’s revitalization and connectivity to Downtown are critical.

We have plenty to showcase with a community of residents who have called SoPho home for over 30 to 70+ years. SoPho residents represent various sectors of the community, including government and elected officials, corporate executives, small business owners, non-profits leaders, neighborhood activist, faith leaders, environmentalist, and educators.

With rising energy and food costs Between the 7’s currently offers solutions like no other part of the valley can. Current housing stock affordability is lower than we’ve ever seen before. We have current mass transportation infrastructure that can easily be expanded to connect with the current light rail system.

We have plenty of vacant land to create pedestrian and transportation oriented developments, new mixed-use centers, parks and civic spaces that can shorten trips and condense growth. We have two of the city’s largest natural open spaces with South Mountains 16,000 acres of beautiful Sonoran Desert and Rio Salado’s almost 600 acres of lush Riparian Habitat.

We have an opportunity like nowhere else in the valley and can become the model for a sustainable community. Neighborhood visioning will be essential and will take significant community involvement in order to solve our current problems and plan for the future in the right way. Neighborhood visioning involves defining our core values, analyzing alternative scenarios and selecting a vision for growth.

This visioning process will help the public and today’s elected officials understand the long-term consequences of the decisions we make today. The residents of SoPho must participate to ensure a gradual progression that will build a high quality of life that we all desire for our children, grandchildren and ourselves.

We will never look like or be Denver’s “LoDo”, Seattle’s “SoDo”, or Manhattans “SoHo”. But SoPho Between the 7’s can evaluate and follow those models and see how they worked and were successful in achieving their goals of building a stronger and safer community.

No other section of the city offers the diversity, culture, and history found in SoPho.
We add tremendous value to Downtown and the City of Phoenix as a whole. We have the ability and opportunity to offer something for everyone, from the visiting tourist to the life-long business-owner and resident.

“Progress towards the revitalization of Between the 7’s truly belongs to the residents of SoPho.”

sophoaz@yahoo.com

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