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More Shade, Art, Bike Racks Budgeted For Downtown Phoenix

Downtown Phoenix
Christina Estes/KJZZ
file | staff
Downtown Phoenix.

More public art, bike racks and shade are coming to downtown Phoenix and a certain group of property owners are expected to cover the costs.

They are part of the downtown Enhanced Municipal Services District (EMSD). It was created in 1990 to provide extra public services, paid for by assessments on property owners within the district. The area is generally bounded by Fillmore Street, 7th Street, 3rd Avenue and the railroad tracks south of Jackson Street.

Dan Klocke is executive director for Downtown Phoenix, Inc., a community development group, which has a contract with Phoenix to collect assessments and oversee plans. During a recent city subcommittee meeting, he said enhancing the public realm remains a top priority.

“It means just having a great environment in downtown,” Klocke said. “So, it means having experiences and interactions that is with restaurants and retail, making sure that the streets and sidewalks are full of people with events and festivals so that downtown is always vibrant. We want to make sure that when people are walking along, it’s interesting, there’s public art, there’s shade.”

Other priorities include homeless outreach and education, supporting city initiatives and reaching out to businesses. Klocke said his team also contacts new downtown employees to share information about events and businesses.

“So we’re actually taking them on some pub crawls and introducing them all to great things downtown,” he said. “And we do this in order for them to feel welcome in downtown and to get the word out to other companies so that they too come down here.”

The District’s Board of Directors wants a 4.79 percent increase in next year’s budget. According to a city report, the total increase is approximately $175,724 and would be distributed among 768 parcels in the district.

On Oct. 4, the city council will be asked to adopt the assessment diagram, tentatively adopt the budget and provide notice of a public hearing. Affected property owners must be notified and a public hearing held before the council votes on the District’s final 2018 budget.

As a senior field correspondent, Christina Estes focuses on stories that impact our economy, your wallet and public policy.