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Borowsky: Congratulations are in order for the new Scottsdale City Council

Scottsdale City Council commentary by Lisa Borowsky
lisa Borowsky

A bittersweet farewell to former
Scottsdale City Council woman Linda Milhaven

By Lisa Borowsky | Point of View

Congratulations to newly seated Councilman Barry Graham, who assumed office on Jan. 10, 2023, along with re-elected. council members Littlefield and Whitehead. Additionally, a big thank you to term limited, outgoing Councilwoman Linda Milhaven who gave 12 years of dedicated and passionate service to our community.

I had the pleasure of serving with Linda for a two-year period during my City Council service. Linda proved to be an effective and thoughtful voice for our city, especially in the area of fiscal responsibility; she will be missed.

As I watched the Jan. 10 City Council inauguration, Councilman Graham’s comments especially resonated with me and I applaud him for looking forward to: “More turnout, more engagement…and more say” from the citizens of Scottsdale at City Hall. Creating a welcoming atmosphere at the Kiva is a great start.

Since my time on City Council, some things have changed at City Hall. In particular, the invocation has been discontinued. Historically, at City Hall a member of the faith community would offer a prayer or thoughts to kick off the City Council meeting.

I recently attended the newly elected statewide inaugural event at the capitol where a Rabbi was included in the short list of speakers. No matter what faith persuasion one holds, our city, state and country has a long-standing history of prayer or thoughtful faith inspired expression prior to meetings of a political body.

It would be nice to see that brought back at City Hall. Also, posting notice of attendee protocol may be a warmer alternative than having the mayor recite the opening warning to those in the audience stressing that no applause or the like shall be uttered from those in attendance lest one wants to risk being escorted out.

Here are some top items I look forward to seeing the City Council tackle in a meaningful way over the next year and beyond:

  1. Restore Heightened Development Expectations — Scottsdale is known worldwide for its beauty and “high end” personality. Over the past decade, we’ve seen a downward trajectory in the quality of projects moving into all parts of the city. “Affordable,” high-density, housing is overrunning well established, and historically, exclusive neighborhoods. No one comes to Scottsdale to see bland, high-rise apartment complexes — we should demand better.
  2. Traffic — A natural consequence of runaway density and height is traffic. Scottsdale has been a “donor” city where regional tax funds are concerned for many years. Identifying and developing an alternate north/south thoroughfare or expressway should be key on the minds of our city leaders. Synching the lights on main streets such as Scottsdale Road would be a welcome reprieve as would not undertaking major street construction during high visitor months.
  3. Old Town — A quick walk through our city’s aging Downtown/Old Town areas leaves little room for debate as to whether it’s time for a “makeover.” Starting with the easy tasks, i.e., a major clean up and restoration campaign for the streets and sidewalks and stricter code enforcement in the bar district. When tourists arrive on our streets, they should be “wowed” by meandering, safe and attractive walkable paths. A grand regional improvement plan for the area is deserved. Perhaps something really creative along the lines of the Green Corridor Initiative in Medellin, Colombia.

Scottsdale is a great place to, work, live and play (in the words of a favorite former colleague, Councilman McCullough).

We have to be very careful to protect our well-earned reputation as a top tourism destination offering amazing events, beautiful views and weather, fantastic restaurants, resorts and golf, all of which attracts visitors and future residents year after year … let’s keep it special.

Editor’s note: Lisa Borowsky is a longtime Scottsdale resident, philanthropist and elected leader.

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