Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

Scottsdale, Ariz. Open First Neighborhood Enhancement Center

Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

Scottsdale, Ariz. Open First Neighborhood Enhancement Center

Article excerpt

Scottsdale, Ariz. has completed the first of three renovation phases of the city's first Neighborhood Enhancement Center, which will become the center of activity in a once crime- and blight-ridden area.

Housed on the campus of the former Paiute Elementary School, the center will offer educational, recreational and social activities, as well as city services that were heretofore provided from a tent.

The facility was proposed by the City Council-appointed Scottsdale Visioning Committee as a gathering place for residents that would provide lifelong learning opportunities within walking distance of their homes and strengthen connections within the community.

"Paiute used to be the central part of the neighborhood, and we hope to make it the central part once again," said Community Services General Manager Bill Exham.

The area has recently experienced a resurgence, however the 1990 federal census showed a median household income of $24,360, more than $18,000 below the figure for the city as a whole. One-fourth of the 4,692 tract residents are younger than 17 years of age and the Hispanic population quadrupled during the 1980's.

Vice Mayor Richard Thomas said the center would promote a sense of community among residents of all cultures.

The center's creation began in July, 1993, when the city purchased the school, which had served as the Dahlberg Commerce Center. Two buildings at the southeast end of the campus house a private elementary school.

To assist in financing the renovations, the city created an Adopt-a-Building program. Organizations were invited to sponsor particular buildings, with a minimum contribution of $15,000.

Motorola adopted the structure housing the computer training room and Head Start program. The Scottsdale Association of Realtors remodeled the former cafeteria into a commercial kitchen and arts and crafts department. …

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