Saturday, May 21, 2011

Arizona’s botched centennial celebration

On May 17, State officials broke ground for their Centennial Way project that will “re-dress” a mile and a half of West Washington Street in Phoenix.  The existing sidewalk will be torn up and replaced with one including decorations. Bike paths, shade structures, and Palo Verde trees will be added. Strange “streetscapes” will pay tribute to the 15 counties. A “Tribal Walk” will honor 22 Indian tribes.  Federal stimulus money will be used to pay for most of the “facelift”.

The “Tribal Walk” is most appropriate. Other than for a few winos, indigenous Indians were probably the last people to walk along Washington Street. There is no pedestrian traffic. The project will become Arizona’s $7.1 million dollar sidewalk for no one.

Unfortunately, this “signature project” is not the Arizona Centennial commission’s greatest folly. Their “number one signature project” is the Arizona Centennial Museum (AKA Arizona Experience). The purpose and theme of this museum have never been clearly defined. Initially, it was to feature the 5Cs, and that is what the statute authorizing it states. More recently, the theme has been a change each time a Centennial Commission member makes a statement of presentation about it. In general, it will be a repeat of the awful mistakes made by the $30 million Marley Center Museum in Tempe.

Even worse, it will displace the top rated and historic (1884) Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum and its highly popular and self-supporting K-12 science education programs. Even though only a small percentage of the funds have been raised for this $15 million dollar boondoggle, the mineral museum has already been closed. Arizona’s unique mining heritage is being sacrificed for a centennial bauble that can never be open for the centennial. It may never open. Even if it does, it’s planned high dollar interactive displays will be junk in a decade, just like the ones in Marley Center.

Arizona’s botched centennial celebration is destroying a key element of Arizona’s history.

Cash- short Arizona makes do with modest centennial
Paul Davenport
The Arizona Capitol Times, May 17, 2011

State breaks ground on centennial project
Jeremy Duda
The Arizona Capitol times, May 17, 2011

“Centennial Way” in downtown Phoenix will honor Arizona statehood
Streetscape project to include displays, ‘Tribal Walk’
Ginger rough
The Arizona Republic, May 18, 2011

1 comment:

  1. I bet thet Brewer is looking for a way out of this museum boondoggle.
    I wonder how she will do it? Cancel the museum idea and put the rocks back? Build a "party center" at the Mineral Museum and just put the bar in the corner with some mineral display? They will have to put the sign over the front door back. At least that wont cost too much. Fire someone? But who.