Garfield Historic District Organization Opposes Circle K

There has been a lot of talk about the proposed Circle K at 7th Street and Roosevelt. Other than Circle K officials I can’t find any one who supports this proposal. So why is the City looking at moving forward with it. Some say it is the old “of the people who have the most money” policy decision.

I received a letter form Dana Johnson, a Garfield honcho, and wanted to pass it on for your reading and thoughts. Leave a comment below with you ponderings.

To Whom It May Concern:

After serious deliberation and much discussion with potentially affected residents of the Garfield neighborhood, Garfield Organization firmly opposes the proposed development of a mega Circle K Store at the southeast corner of 7th & Roosevelt Streets.

Our decision is based on three negative impacts this store would have: 1) Crime, 2) Traffic, 3) inappropriate development for our urban downtown neighborhood.

In the early 1990’s Garfield neighborhood was selected as Arizona’s first US Department of Justice Weed & Seed site; “weeding out” crime, and “seeding in” positive community building programs and developments, a philosophy and strategy that continue to guide us today. When we review a prospective business partner or new development we believe the need to consider whether the development will produce a net positive or negative impact on quality of life in Garfield. For decades residents have repeatedly voiced concerns over the unsafe conditions at our existing three Circle K stores; these sites have an established record as nodes of crime since the beginning of Weed & Seed.

Circle K’s have a well established (and disproportionate) propensity to attract crime. This has been thoroughly documented by two recent ASU studies. The company’s own statistics (presented at a Garfield Organization RED meeting 9/26), suggest that the newer Circle K stores have increased actual crime compared to the stores they replace. Simply considering that, who would want a store with that management record, to quadruple in size?

Though a request was made for a study, City Streets and Transportation staff have been hesitant to review this project’s impact on traffic at the busy intersection of 7th and Roosevelt streets. It’s hard to imagine quadrupling the number of gas pumps (9), and pretending traffic activity isn’t increased, further complicating the ingress and egress at such a congested problematic intersection, with serious negative impact on pedestrian and bicyclist safety as well. We’re specifically concerned that at peak traffic times, drivers will exit the proposed Circle K onto Roosevelt and drive through the neighborhood to avoid congested traffic approaching the 7th St. I-10 onramp.

Businesses along Roosevelt west of 7th St., which are frequently visited by Garfield residents, have worked to build a streetscape friendly to local pedestrians and cyclists; a large gas station catering to freeway traffic is the antithesis of what residents and businesses in the area have worked for many years (and in some cases decades) to develop. A convenience store of such massive proportions is a suburban model, and inappropriate to an urban downtown neighborhood; this is particularly poignant given the retro-urban vision we have for Garfield neighborhood. Considering the many years and millions of Federal and City dollars invested into reviving Garfield as a Neighborhood Initiative Area and likewise respecting Evans-Churchill’s revitalizing investments, we believe such a development to be unwise and counter-productive to current and long-term plans for this area.

Our concerns and opposition go beyond the specifics of a liquor license or a use permit. It’s our conclusion that this development is the wrong project for this Garfield intersection. Any new development would remove blighting elements currently present at the site, but in the case of this Circle K it would be at the expense of a more appropriate project that would contribute long-term to the vitality of the downtown urban core being created within Garfield, Evans-Churchill, Roosevelt Row and the biomedical campus. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,clip_image002

Dana Johnson

Garfield Organization, Board President

dana@alwunhouse.org

602.253.7967

Gene Urban
The Urban Team at Realty Executives
602-234-5777

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