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Sunday, July 23, 2017

“A City’s Expression of Itself is Best Personified at its Core” – Donald F. Hilderbrandt

On March 24, 2010 I took a small group of leaders from ASU, NAU, Urban Land Institute, Phoenix Community Alliance and other interested organizations on a tour of South Phoenix (SoPho), Between the 7’s. Although it is a challenging time for our country, state, city and local community the leaders on this bus tour are looking towards the future. They all call the city of Phoenix home and wanted to discover the potential that exist in SoPho.

I initially got their attention at a PCA membership meeting on February 18, 2010 at the Nina Mason Pulliam Audubon Center. I presented my Vision of SoPho, Between the Seven’s to their board and membership. There were over 120 individuals at this meeting and it was amazing to hear how many people had never been south of Interstate 17 or US Airways Arena..

I knew going into the presentation that would be the case so I decided to host a quarterly bus tour of the area. The only way that people will see the potential of this area is to come out and see the beauty, culture, diversity and history of our community. One individual on the bus tour stated “I was born and raised in Phoenix and have been visiting your office for over four years and never knew all the great things you have in South Phoenix.” After the tour all understood the value of South Phoenix and committed to help join the effort of creating a vibrant SoPho.

We have an enormous opportunity as residents and business owners to help highlight the assets in our community and set an example for the rest of the city to follow. I have been writing the Between the 7’s article for about 4 years now and most of you know that I have written many times about The Central Arizona region expecting substantial growth. The projections 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 is true but regardless we have a chance to be proactive and plan for the future of our city.

In SoPho we might not have the billions of dollars to invest like our neighbors to the north but we can use Downtown’s successful projects to make SoPho the place of choice for existing and new residents. The Bio-Science campus anchored by T-Gen, the U of A College of medicine, 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 CityScape and many other projects have increased the value of our community even in the midst if our current recession.

We have location, location, and location! Between the 7’s is from 7th Avenue to 7th Street and from Interstate 17 south to the South Mountain Preserve. This area is one mile in width and 4.8 mile in length. While the transformation of Downtown is still happening our community’s regeneration and connectivity to are critical to the continued success of Downtown Phoenix.

We are a showcase community with residents who have called SoPho home for over 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 commercial and residential affordability is lower than we’ve ever seen before. We have current mass transportation infrastructure that can and needs to be expanded to connect with the current and future 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 Preserve 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 standard for what a sustainable community looks like in Arizona. We will never look like or be Denver’s “LoDo”, Seattle’s “SoDo”, or Manhattans “SoHo” but SoPho Between the 7’s can follow those models and work out a plan to build a stronger and safer community for all to enjoy.

No other section of the city offers the diversity, culture, and history found in SoPho. We add tremendous value to the City of Phoenix. 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.”

I invite all residents and interested parties to join me on the next SoPho, Between the 7’s tour. Please email me at vvidales@remax.net to secure your seat on the next tour.

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