John Strawn, manager of the Refuge Cafe (7th Ave. just south of Pierson Street) stayed way past closing the evening of January 26th so the Seventh Avenue Merchants Association could hold their quarterly general meeting in his dining room. He served appetizers, coffee, and water to about twenty business owners and residents who attended. Here are a few snippets from the two-hour meeting:
Googie Bistro: Restauranteur Rebecca Golden introduced her attorney Adam Baugh and asked that Melrose support her application for a zoning adjustment to the now vacant Melrose Liquor building. Golden plans to re-develop the 1300 square foot, 1950’s drive through into a coffee shop/bistro similar to what she created at 32 Shea in north Phoenix. Ordinances require several waivers and special use permits, including outdoor liquor and recreation as well as parking variances. “This is the kind of thing we need to have here,” said S.A.M.A. President Mike Poulton. “Whatever variances they need to make that happen here, we ought to support.” S.A.M.A. submitted a letter in support to the City. A public hearing is scheduled for Feb. 15 at 1:30 p.m. in City Hall. Read more.
Lyceum Park: “If you don’t have a brick yet, get a brick,” said Pam Pawlowski, secretary for the Community Alliance of Seventh Avenue (a subsidiary of S.A.M.A.) “Don’t stand in the middle of the park after it opens and go ‘damn I wish I would have gotten a brick.” C.A.S.A. is overseeing construction of the 1/4 acre, town square style park in the heart of Melrose. The land and $50k cash were donated by Clear Channel Outdoor as part of an arrangement with the City of Phoenix Parks & Recreation department.
“One shade structure is going up and the bricks are helping us to get two,” Pawlowski said. “We’ve money in the bank for maintenance. The bricks are really important. “C.A.S.A. will manage the area which sits on City land and must raise funds to maintain it. Any member of the public can buy a brick, prices range from $50-$250 and discounts are available in bulk. As of the end of January S.A.M.A. had purchased 16. “You can be as creative as you want to be just don’t cuss,” Pawlowski said. Project progress can be seen at CASAon7thAve.org.
7th Ave Bike Racks Dedication: A few years back, P.B. Bell, developer of the Curve Luxury Apartments, donated cash for Melrose to install several bike racks up and down 7th Avenue. Seven of a total 28 have been installed so far and a small dedication ceremony will be held outside
Wag n’ Wash Feb. 24 @ 9:00 a.m. (T.B.A.) to thank Bell. According to Pawlowski, the racks were manufactured by women inmates of the Arizona correctional institute. “We gave them a project and they did a great job, it’s been wonderful,” she said. Other locations include outside Bizarre Guitar and Melrose Pharmacy. One has also been reserved for outside the former Melrose Liquors building which is being renovated into a coffee shop. Pawlowski said there are 11 bike racks remaining. “If you have a business and you want a bike rack let us know,” she said.
Street Fair: See Feb. 9 article
CanalScape Opportunity for Melrose Businesses: S.A.M.A. and C.A.S.A. want to capitalize on the City of Phoenix’s investment along the Grand Canal. The City is putting millions into lighting, seating, decoration, bikeways and walkways along several miles of the Grand Canal, which runs through the middle of Melrose. Construction is already underway. The idea is to bring pedestrian and bicycle traffic east of Arcadia, and make the canal a safer place. “We hope that where this bridge (at 7th Avenue) is people will get off and start shopping in Melrose,” Pawlowski said. “People have to know what’s here.” She suggested decorative signs or arrows along the canal path, similar to those found near St. Francis restaurant at Central Ave. and Camelback. “We don’t want to copy that but it’s a good inspiration.” Strawn suggested Melrose erect a directory of Melrose businesses.