Brick by Brick, New Park a Collaborative Effort

lyceum photoFrom print version:

Rome wasn’t built in a day, nor will have “The Lyceum,” The Melrose District’s new town-square style park at the corner of 7th and Montecito Aves. Starting in December, crews will begin to shape a quarter acre of dirt into a cozy spot for residents, shoppers, diners, and passersby to muse.

“This will be a place for people to look at art on a Friday night,” said Charley Jones, President of the Community Alliance of Seventh Avenue and the project’s manager. “Or it might be a poetry reading.”

Jones said the “Lyceum,” Greek for “gathering space,” will help refine Melrose identity between Camelback and Indian School Roads. C.A.S.A. adopted the idea, which was Originally conceived by Woodlea-Melrose resident Perry Allen, in 2014. “The concept is anybody can use it,” Jones said. “It became possible because of Clear Channel Corp’s commitment to The Melrose District.”

After years of discussions among neighbors, C.A.S.A. and the City of Phoenix entered into an agreement with the outdoor advertising company to develop the unusually shaped vacant parcel upon which their digital billboard now stands.

The space will include shade structures, seating, vegetation, a stage, and lighting at night. “I think it’s a badass idea,” said T.J. Culp, owner of Restaurant Progress immediately next door. “I like that it’s just a place to hang out.”

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Both Norris Design, L.L.C. and Harvest Design Group will donate time and labor to get the project off the ground, and C.A.S.A will oversee construction and maintenance after completion. Those who want to forever inscribe their names into the park’s cobblestone legacy can contact C.A.S.A. to purchase a brick.

“(The Lyceum) is going to breed community togetherness,” said Teresa Stickler, co-owner of Melrose Pharmacy two doors down. “It’s going to make people in the Melrose neighborhood proud.”

Jones said the space will be open for public use but the City doesn’t want organized events which would require security, parking, and other permitting. “It’s up to us to police and maintain it,” Jones said. “We expect everything is going to happen there, and we’re working on ways to get everyone involved.”

The design orients perspective toward both 7th and Montecito Avenues, making it easier for passing residents and police to keep an eye on who’s doing what. The public will also be required to follow noise and City Park ordinances.

Stickler said she liked that seating will prevent people from camping overnight. “And I really like the lights,” She continued. “It feels comfortable and cozy, not stiff.”

A groundbreaking ceremony will be held December 16. Phoenix Councilwoman Laura Pastor is expected to attend the Groundbreaking. at which several city officials are expected to attend.

Learn more at: casaon7thave.org.