Disclaimer: The comments in this blog are my personal opinion and may or may not reflect an adopted position of the city of Glendale and its city council.

At the August 9, 2022, apparently, I surprised the audience, comprised of about two dozen green shirted folk with ‘Save Murphy Park’ emblazoned across their chests. I asked our City Manager to investigate the idea of building a new city hall in some other part of our city and to report his findings back to council. I suggested the Westgate area where the city already owns land. How much would it cost, what would the project look like and what could the city realize from such an investment elsewhere?

We know that Goodyear recently spent $87 million to build its newly opened 7 acre Civic Square but that includes a parking garage, a two-story library and a 2 acre park. My best estimate, once the garage, library and park are eliminated, is the four-story city hall cost an estimated $50 million. What could Glendale save from the $70 million if it built new? $10million? $20 million?

This concept of building a new city hall is not a new idea. It has floated around city hall for at least the past five years. A majority of council never pursued the idea because, I suspect, they felt that such an investment would help to revive downtown Glendale. So, everyone marched to the downtown campus reinvestment initiative.

My suggestion was not born out of retaliation, as suggested by Vice Mayor Aldama. Rather it is an objective look as to where it is best to make a $70 million dollar investment. In other words, where does the city get the most ‘bang for its buck’ with such a major investment?

I have invested time and energy over the last twenty-five years to keep downtown Glendale moving forward. I was part of the “Miracle Mile” citizens’ group many years ago. It was the first citizens group to envision strategies to create a robust downtown. Over the years there have been several attempts strategizing to make downtown more viable. All have failed.

The reason for failure is downtown itself. A majority of downtown business owners have never been able to achieve cohesion and present their clear, unified goals on redevelopment. I contend twenty-four green shirted people, predominately Catlin Court business owners, do not represent the entirety of over 130+ downtown merchants. Their self-proclaimed validity comes from the fact that they are the only ones who are vocal.

They are aided and abetted by Robert Heidt, CEO of the Glendale Chamber of Commerce.

I am sharing the Chamber’s mission and vision taken directly from their website, “Mission – The Glendale Chamber serves the business community as the voice of commerce, provides programs and services to improve the economic environment for its members and supplies leadership for improving the quality of life. For area residents and newcomers, the Glendale Chamber is a reliable source for community information and a dependable resource for business referrals. Vision – For Glendale to have a prosperous business community.” Mr. Heidt seems to have strayed from his organization’s mission and vision. I think it’s fair to ask, is Mr. Heidt taking his organization in a direction that no longer benefits its membership?

Mayor Weiers said during council’s discussion about downtown that, “Our downtown, in case people haven’t noticed, is hanging by a thread, and has been for quite some time.” The Mayor, sadly, is correct. Despite the millions of dollars the city has invested in downtown over the years, the sales tax revenue downtown generates declines year after year and is now less than 1% of the city’s total sales tax revenue.

Glendale’s Economic Department gave this assessment which can be found on its website, in part, regarding the downtown, “High vacancy rates, prohibitive zoning, and aged infrastructure are some of the challenges that plague this district. Traditional retail will not support the future sustainability of this area, rather a mix of uses that increase consistent density in this area is needed.”

Steve Stockmar of the Glendale Independent interviewed Valerie Burner of Bears & More, a Catlin Court shop owner who said in response to the Mayor’s comment,  “I’m not sure where he gets his information. To be honest, I’ve only ever had a very minimal conversation with the mayor. So I don’t know where he gets his information.” This is not exactly a roaring denial of the Mayor’s view, is it? Since when is Catlin Court the voice of the interests of all downtown business owners?

The city council and senior leadership of the city are charged with being fiscally responsible and good stewards of taxpayer money. So, dear reader, I ask you. Would you continue to invest in downtown Glendale by renovating the city hall campus or would you say it’s time to move city hall?

© Joyce Clark, 2022      


This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such material. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.