Phoenix Urban Renewal Loses Again


Byline: Steven Schulman - 8/20/2013

On Monday August 19th the Phoenix City Council effectively slammed the door on the Phoenix Urban Renewal Agency and any program they come up with to improve the city. As reported by the Medford Mail-Tribune the agency wanted to buy the vacant lot next to the Grange, move the historic Steadman house there, and utilize the property for an office. This would be the start of the revitalization of the Phoenix city center.

This was the second time this purchase was proposed to council. The first time, the council said, "come back to us when you have a use for the property." I know this because I made the presentation to the council. Last night the council rejected the PHURA plan because they had a use for the property and some members of the council didn't like that use. I guess it's damned if you do and damned if you don't.

This was a great plan by PHURA and would have been an asset for the city now, and many times over when Urban Renewal sunsets. That's how UR works.

When the vote tied three (Stan Bartell, Carolyn Bartell, Chris Luz) to three (Karen Jones, Terry Helfrich, Bruce Sofie) , the mayor (Jeff Bellah) drove the final nail in by voting no, thus ending progress in Phoenix. In the final words of Councilor Karen Jones, a council representative to PHURA along with Terry Helfrich, when speaking to the council about this, "it's your move!" Helfrich add "the city can buy the lot now."