Jun. 29, 2007 02:47 PM
Chandler crowed this week that it is finally, officially larger than Scottsdale. Excuse us while we yawn.
Bigger isn’t always better So the Census Bureau says Chandler is bigger than Scottsdale. Gilbert is closing fast. Big deal.
Sure, dropping to the state’s sixth (and within a few years, seventh) largest city may be a blow to the ego. It may slightly reduce Scottsdale’s share of shared state revenue. We might as well get used to it. Other Valley cities have a lot more room in which to grow.
But ultimately, size isn’t all that matters. Scottsdale has something Chandler, Gilbert and other rapidly growing Valley towns do not. When was the last time you heard someone say, “Hey, let’s go check out that famous chef’s restaurant in Gilbert” or “Let’s hike the desert preserve in Chandler”?
Never, you say?
Mesa, Glendale, Chandler and Gilbert are fine cities. But none of them has Scottsdale’s panache or a name recognized nationwide. None of them set aside one-third of their land area for preservation. None of them seek to balance an urban core with an expanse of semi-rural land where homes are restricted to one to five acres. Gawkers do not seek the rich and famous within their boundaries.
What those towns have to brag about are rapidly rising populations.
Congratulations. That’s an affirmation they are nice places to live. Just like the rest of the Valley.
But it doesn’t make them Scottsdale. That takes a lot more work, which the Census Bureau doesn’t measure. It doesn’t need to. When a city reaches this level, it knows it – because everyone else wants to emulate the place. New Heard Museum North open The new Heard Museum North opens today, putting another feather in Scottsdale’s cap.Heard opened its first branch, at the el Pedregal Festival Marketplace, in the mid-1990s. It’s been so popular it outgrew that original location, necessitating the move to the Summit at Scottsdale, 32633 N. Scottsdale Road.
It will gain enough space to have two exhibit halls, one long term and the other changing regularly. Pieces that otherwise would be stored at the main Heard Museum will have a place to be shown. For supporters of Indian art, this is a tremendous development.
The first long-term exhibit features jewelry, baskets, kachinas and pottery, some of which dates to the 1860s. The inaugural changing exhibit will feature 12 Navajo weavings.
The museum could soon have company north of Loop 101. Bill DeWalt is negotiating a site in Desert Ridge for the Museum of the Musical Instrument. The museum is the brainchild of Target Corp. CEO Bob Ulrich, who has donated much of the $100 million for startup costs.
The museum hopes to house 3,000 instruments, most from disappearing cultures, with video showing them being played. For a “wow” factor, there could be a room devoted to instruments used by well-known performers.
Both museums capture important aspects of culture – giving the Northeast Valley a new definition as a place to see and be seen.Finally, door opens for Ftn. Hills The Sonoran desert is its own attraction. Fountain Hills, like Scottsdale, has been foresighted in preserving portions of the McDowell Mountains. But unlike Scottsdale, Fountain Hills has had no easily accessible entrance into its preserve.Finally, that will change. The Town Council agreed to complete an agreement with MCO Properties that will establish a public trailhead at the end of Eagle Ridge Drive. Hikers will be able to walk through MCO’s property without prior notice.
It shouldn’t have taken this long. Preserving pristine desert isn’t an end in itself. The point of preservation is to make gorgeous land available to all residents. This trailhead, at last, will do this.