Former City Council members share Scottsdale history with Rotarians

Independent Newsmedia
Posted 1/13/20

Nearly 150 years-combined service by three former City of Scottsdale council members was witnessed by The Rotary Club of Scottsdale.

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Former City Council members share Scottsdale history with Rotarians


Nearly 150 years-combined service by three former City of Scottsdale council members was witnessed by The Rotary Club of Scottsdale.

Club members and guests welcomed Jim Bruner, Charlie Smith and Bill Walton at a recent meeting where they shared their experiences, according to a press release.

Rotarian Virginia Korte  introduced them with the following biographical summaries :

Jim Bruner, a Rotary Club of Scottsdale member, has for nearly 50 years committed to making Scottsdale, Maricopa County and Arizona a better place to live and work. An attorney and banker, he has provided leadership in civic, business and philanthropic endeavors, as well as, in city, county and state government service. He served on City of Scottsdale Council from April 1, 1980 to April 5, 1988.

Charlie Smith, known for his longtime community service in Scottsdale, is largely credited as the person responsible for securing Major League Baseball and the San Francisco Giants baseball team and stadium in Scottsdale. He served on the City of Scottsdale Council from July 18, 1974 to April 3, 1984.

Bill Walton, for more than 56 years has dedicated his energy, vision, and professional expertise to enhance Scottsdale for this and future generations. A landscape architect, Mr. Walton has a special interest in Scottsdale parks. He served on the City of Scottsdale Council from April 3, 1984 to April 7, 1992.

Meanwhile, the former council members discussed the following city projects that have impacted Scottsdale citizens and visitors:

• Indian Bend Wash: After Bill Walton, who biked to work in the early 1960s, traveled through an often muddy and flooded Indian Bend Wash, he sent a letter, as a private citizen in 1964, to the local newspaper, the Scottsdale Progress.

The letter stated: “I would urge city and civic leaders to buy land in what is now a messy, ugly sleuth that floods with every heavy rain. And, begin planning now for recreational purposes to make this a unique and outstanding park for Scottsdale. It can be designed so as to not interfere with flood control and could contain parks, trails, golf courses, tennis courts and other recreational amenities.”

The Army Corps of Engineers originally, wanted to put a 200 ft wide concrete ditch through the center of Scottsdale to control the flood waters. However, Mr. Walton had a different idea and his urging led to what is now the Indian Bend Wash. The Wash became a subject of much debate in fast-growing Scottsdale.

Mr. Walton shared his historical perspectives on the flooding within the Indian Bend Wash; Wash funding and bond issues; Scottsdale’s Town Enrichment Program in which 250 citizens addressed the city’s Green Belt plan; and, the Green Belt’s controlling flooding through runoff into deep lakes rather than constant tearing up land and streets.

• City of Scottsdale’s Sprinkler Ordinance: The City of Scottsdale is widely-recognized as a leader in built-in automatic sprinkler systems. In 1985, the city passed an ordinance requiring every commercial and multi-family building to be outfitted with a complete fire sprinkler system. The ordinance requires that single-family residences, built after Jan. 1, 1986, are outfitted with an approved fire sprinkler system. Sprinkler systems are also required in major remodeling projects. These systems are credited with saving lives locally.

• West World (formerly HorseWorld): Founded as a farming and ranching community, Scottsdale has always had a strong horse culture. Originally, the Arabian Horse Show was held in the current McCormick Ranch area. In 1982, Scottsdale entered a long-term agreement with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to lease land north of the Central Arizona Canal and at the base of the McDowell Mountains for development as a park.

Horseman’s Park opened in 1986 on a 356-acre site, and initially featured an open-air arena, several smaller open arenas, stables, recreational vehicle hookups and a large field that served as a parking lot as well as a flood control basin. The Park was renamed HorseWorld in 1988, and to WestWorld in 1990. The City of Scottsdale resumed operating WestWorld in 1997. The Barrett-Jackson Auto Auction and the All Arabian Horse Show moved to the park in 1989. Each has continued to stage internationally-renown events at WestWorld annually.

• TPC Scottsdale: According to Jim Bruner, TPC Scottsdale was born from the dream of then PGA TOUR Commissioner Deane Beman. His vision was to create a network of clubs embodying the TOUR’s rigorous quality standards, providing unparalleled venues for TOUR events, and advancing the PGA TOUR’s charitable contributions.

In early 1986, the Phoenix Thunderbirds (host organization for the Phoenix Open) started looking for a new tournament site. Tour Commissioner Beman began identifying a new a location when then Scottsdale Mayor, Herb Drinkwater, called with the perfect solution – he could secure gifted land within the City of Scottsdale that would offer the ideal setting for a stadium-style course, as well as, a location to build a hotel - the current Fairmont Princess Hotel. In cooperation with the Bureau of Reclamation, the City of Scottsdale Council, and the Phoenix Thunderbirds, the PGA TOUR moved the event to its new location and named it Tournament Players Club of Scottsdale.

• Scottsdale Stadium: According to Mr. Smith, the original stadium was built on 27 acres in 1956, and served as the former Cactus League home of the Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs, Oakland A’s, and now the San Francisco Giants. Construction began in April 1991 and the new Scottsdale Stadium opened it’s doors for Spring Training on March 12, 1992.

The facilities were renovated in 2005 and continue to be upgraded. Located in Old Town Scottsdale, the stadium has become the home of not only the San Francisco Giants and the Arizona Fall League, but also numerous cultural events. More than 15 baseball teams are now part of the Cactus League.

When recalling the stadium’s history, Mr. Smith noted that in 1950 there were 2,200 Scottsdale residents. Now, there are more than 250,000. During the years, there were many bond elections impacting stadium renovation funding. In 1955, to compete with Florida spring training fields, $55,000 of the $72,000 cost to build the stadium was raised by selling lifetime box sales for $500 a piece.

Former San Francisco Giants President, Al Rosen supported Scottsdale Stadium, calling it a “masterpiece” and acknowledged that Mrs. Rosen loved Scottsdale, according to Mr. Smith.

For the past five decades, sales from the stadium’s Charro Lodge passes and stadium and magazine advertising, the non-profit Charros and The Charro Foundation raised and awarded millions of dollars for the community, offering grants and donations to local non-profits and schools in the Scottsdale Unified School District.

See: or call 480-945-6158 for more information.