Community Gathers to Envision Future for South Central Corridor
A large number of community members participated in the first of several workshops on the planning of the South Central Corridor. Workshops on March 4th and March 9th were hosted by the Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) Business Assistance and Land Use Planning Grant Team, a group that was chosen by the City of Phoenix to conduct engagement with the community in order to develop a comprehensive and inclusive community plan for the South Central corridor. The workshops provided additional depth to the community outreach efforts the Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) Business Assistance and Land Use Planning Grant Team has undertaken since 2018 to engage the South Central corridor residents.
The City of Phoenix was awarded a federal grant to engage the community and support local businesses along the South Central Avenue planned light rail extension. The product of this grant exercise will be a living document, inspired by the hearts and voices of the community. The project has two major activity areas which are further divided into several key tasks and subtasks. The two major activity areas are Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) Planning and Business Assistance. The City of Phoenix in collaboration with project partners, community stakeholders, and the Mayor and Council appointed Steering Committee will develop a TOD policy plan specific to the South Central corridor. This plan will serve to attract, guide, and prioritize strategic investments in infrastructure, housing, economic development, and other areas to realize a shared community vision for the future of the corridor.
The purpose of these workshops is to gather community feedback, goals and aspirations for the South Central corridor and to build upon existing community values and previous planning efforts. The workshops also provide an environment where community voices can come together and shape an inclusive future for their neighborhoods. The results of these efforts will produce a community plan for the South Central corridor. Community plans are public documents that articulate the community’s long range vision and provide guidance in regard to investment opportunities to advance the community’s vision.
“South Central is such a diverse community,” said consultant and project co-lead Krista Shepherd, principal at Gould Evans who is partnering in the effort. “We make these workshops very interactive with activities focused on everything from economic development, transportation, housing, and education. We want to hear directly from the community members about their priorities and visions for the future.”
The March 4th event opened with a presentation from Councilman Nowakowski, Councilwoman Mendoza, City of Phoenix Planning and Development Department Director Alan Stephenson, and The Planning Grant Team.
Following the introductions were several small group discussions on history and heritage, and booth exhibits focused on six planning elements: mobility, health, green systems, land use, economic development and housing. Each activity provided educational information and shared community quotes from a variety of previous outreach efforts. A follow-up discussion on affordability was held on March 7th at Centro Comunitario de PAZ.
The March 9th workshop built upon Monday’s event, reflecting information that was collected during the first workshop with continued feedback and discussion from community members imagining a future state of the community in 2045. The event began with a community conversation about planning elements focused on “what is needed?” and “where it is needed?”.
Both workshops were conducted in English and Spanish simultaneously, capturing a variety of multi-generational, cross-cultural views on the South Central corridor. Community members were also encouraged to share stories about the area and current concerns and hopes for the future. A youth activity area with the prompt “Design Your Park” inspired children to share new ideas through various materials, crafts and buildables.
“Community is what happens when we gather to take responsibility for what needs to take place to respond to our concerns and more importantly our vision for the future. Two words I had for our planning workshops - joyful and hopeful.” stated TOD grant team co-lead Petra Falcon, from Promise Arizona. “I am humbled by the commitment of so many community members who came out to spend hours with us to imagine how to make their community better.” remarked TOD grant team co-lead Krista Shepherd, from Gould Evans.
The community outreach and planning work for the South Central Corridor will continue with an educational campaign as well as a second round of workshops to be held on May 6th through May 11th. These next set of workshops will provide a follow up to the community’s input received and will celebrate history and heritage with a family-friendly event at South Mountain Community Center where illustrations of the community concepts will be presented to the public for feedback. Visit tod.phx.org for more information.
What: TOD Workshops
May 6, 5:30 - 8:30 p.m.
May 11, 9 a.m - 12:30 p.m.
Where: South Mountain Community Center
212 E. Alta Vista Road Phoenix, AZ 85042
About the South Central Transit-Oriented Development Business Assistance and Land-Use Grant Planning Process: The City of Phoenix was awarded a federal grant to engage the community, provide early action business assistance along the light rail extension and long-range planning for the community. The scope of work covered by the grant covers the South Central Corridor (with planning boundaries from Jefferson Street to South Mountain Avenue and 7th Avenue to 7th street and business assistance boundaries from Van Buren to South Mountain Avenue and 3rd Street to 3rd Avenue).