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Janik: A celebration of Old Town Scottsdale


Old Town Scottsdale is home to award winning restaurants, hundreds of unique retail shops, and dozens of fine art galleries.

It houses museums, performing art theaters, and historic sites from the 1800s.

It is the heart of our world class city and a draw for thousands of tourists annually. And we still have room to grow.

The scope of this growth has triggered a hotly contested debate. Too tall, too small, too dense, too sparse, too metropolitan, too western, are all valid considerations.

A big first step toward arriving at a consensus is to retool the Old Town Character Area Plan to establish guidelines. I am of the belief that there is always room for improvement. By examining how the plan worked previously, we can refine it to shape Scottsdale’s future.

Despite trying to follow this mantra, Mayor Ortega has come under fire for his proposed changes to the Old Town Scottsdale Character Area Plan. His primary focus is what’s best for Scottsdale.

The personal attacks on him for his positions and actions are uncivil, disrespectful, and nonproductive. They further polarize the citizens of our city.

The character slurring of the individuals who sponsored the referendum in opposition to Southbridge II is equally despicable. They are the owners of attractive and successful small businesses in downtown Scottsdale. There is no need to vilify the mayor and members of our community to make a point.

The question I pose to the detractors and complainers is this: Do you want to solve the problem or just fight over it? I prefer a solution, not a confrontation.

The city will offer numerous opportunities for the citizens to weigh in on the debate. What I ask is that we respect each other as we work through our growing pains. We listen to each other and are open to the ideas of others. Our social media postings are civil and we avoid personal attacks on individuals because we disagree with them.

It’s time we returned to the time-honored art of compromise.

The schedule for review and citizen dialogue will be posted on www.scottsdaleaz.gov. Please join in the discussion and share your thoughts.

Editor’s Note: Betty Janik is an elected member of Scottsdale City Council and currently serving as vice mayor.