Connect Don’t Disconnect
By Doug Sydnor & Jason Rose
Sydnor is a noted Scottssdale-based architect. Rose is the President & Founder of Rose+Moser+Allyn Public & Online Relations based in Scottsdale.

Our proposal to connect the Indian Bend Wash with Papago Park, perhaps with an elevated trail down the middle of McDowell Road culminating with an outdoor amphitheater near the Desert Botanical Garden, has created some robust commentary.

That’s a good thing. When it comes to progress, passion beats apathy every time.

The recent flurry of media attention about the concept is an opportunity to solicit more input while also clarifying misguided misgivings.

First, please allow us to dispense, again, the notion this is a conspiracy for light rail. It’s not. Neither is it a veiled attempt to enrich ourselves. We are spending not making money to explore this idea and we don’t have any clients involved.

Now, to ideas we might all be able to agree upon.

The concept of connecting the Indian Bend Wash to Papago Park is a notion most find intriguing.

Most likely agree that if a linear park or other type of public art could spark more economic activity on McDowell Road that would be attractive too, kind of like the Indian Bend Wash, Tempe Town Lake or High-Line Trail in New York City have already done.

So, if most can agree on these two policy objectives – and we believe the vast majority of Scottsdale residents do – then it is a matter of cost, concept and execution.

That’s why our revised proposal – based on community feedback – does not seek to impose any design approach. Rather, it seeks phased authorization and funding to pursue these goals but leaves the decisions and details to a voter-approved committee, as well as the ultimate design which might be at-grade, above, a combination or a new design not contemplated.

We are passionate about this idea because the status quo shouldn’t be acceptable to anyone, especially with more car dealerships in the area likely to leave.

It’s been 13 years since Scottsdale voters overwhelmingly voted to use public dollars to support a hockey arena and retail development to revitalize McDowell Road. Since that time a sail and nearby strip club profits have risen but little else has. Whether one supported or opposed the hockey arena misses the point. There is a reservoir of support in this community to use public resources on creative ways to help the southern part of our city. It will be the job of those who support this idea to persuade that such public resources will spark a return on investment and provide a unique recreational amenity.

And while there will be a cost to doing something the cost of doing nothing is far greater. More lost sales tax revenue. More blight. More frustration.

While respectfully disagreeing with those who find our idea too creative we must not be further lulled into inaction by notions such as those expressed by Scottsdale Republic contributor Jim McAllister. Unfortunately, he is not alone. Mr. McAllister said his hope for McDowell Road was to raze empty buildings and put in nice shops. Of course that would be wonderful but there is a little thing called private property rights. Government cannot and will not compel the “razing” of buildings on private land. These are the kinds of comments that have typified the nearly two decades of decay on McDowell Road. They are pablum not progress. The area needs a catalyst. With the help of your readers the right balance can be found to connect the Indian Bend Wash with Papago Park in a way that rewards taxpayers and those near McDowell Road who have waited far too long for change.

Ron Burgundy


Jen Parks
Kinsey Schofield