By Allison Barnett
Managing Partner, North 32nd, Inc.

When Supervisor Gates engaged the community and the Urban Land Institute (ULI) to identify ways to revitalize the North 32nd community, the momentum around North 32nd was just in its infancy. Rebecca Golden, former owner of 32 Shea and current owner of Lovecraft, created a catalyst for the evolution of change that has occurred at 32nd and Shea.

When I arrived in Phoenix five years ago, Walgreens was not yet a freestanding building at 32nd and Shea. The Paradise Hills shopping center was just beginning to take shape. In the midst of a home tour with my then realtor and a need for snack, I saw a sign that said coffee, food and drinks. From the very first coffee and chocolate chip cookies, I found a place that has been pivotal during my time in Phoenix.

A few months later, I attended a meeting during the planning stages for what is now View 32, where I learned about the efforts to enhance the North 32nd community

Prior to my move to Arizona, I worked for a residential in-fill builder in the Bay Area where I learned that to effect positive change, you need to put forth good effort to make it happen. From that meeting, I slowly became more involved in the revitalization.

So, what is the biggest challenge with taking on revitalizing one of the largest neighborhoods in Phoenix? Time. It takes time. To ensure success, we focused first on the momentum that was already building at 32nd and Shea with the full intention of expanding the hubs of change to the other major intersections of the North 32nd community.

We have been fortunate to have local businesses like Arizona Sunrays choose to reinvest in our community and help expand the momentum to Greenway. Now we are lucky that Arizona Helping Hands chose to invest in the former Sunrays space with a great new space geared towards helping area foster families in our community.

We coined the term “hubs of change” as it was a nearly impossible task to take on the entire community at once. We are now eagerly focusing on the Cactus and Thunderbird intersections with the opening of Lovecraft at Cactus and the new Vasa gym at Thunderbird.

We already have three signature community events throughout the year: the community bike ride in the spring, our Halloween party in October and the Sheaborhood Festival of Lights in December. In addition, we are working to make the donation-based yoga in the park a more consistent monthly event. We also plan to bring back the Welcome Summer Party in 2019.

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Allison Barnett is the managing partner of North 32nd, Inc. which is bringing revitalization of the community through strategic partnerships with the City of Phoenix as well as local businesses.