East Valley

Pets abandoned in foreclosure homes

A shocking number of dogs and cats have been rescued from local foreclosure and short sale homes where their owners have abandoned them, leaving them to starve to death.

Your donation of food and supplies will help to save the lives of these homeless pets who have been rescued by Lost Our Home Pet Foundation.

Can you even imagine the horror of this situation for the animals involved? I’m almost ashamed to be part of the human race when I think that some people can do this to their pets. You just close the door and walk away?! You can’t even be bothered to pay the small fee to surrender your pet at a shelter?  It’s sickening.

Contact Lost Our Home Pet Foundation


http://www.lostourhome.org/how-you-can-help/
or call 602-230-HELP(4357)

This organization is supported by the Arizona Regional Multiple Listing System. And also by Chris Butterworth and Heather Barr, The Phoenix Agents at Thompson’s Realty. And our broker, Jay & Francy Thompson. And about a bajillion other cool peeps in town.

Pet Food Drive Locations



  • Wet or dry dog and cat food of any type

  • Pet toys

  • Cat Litter/litter pans

  • Water or food dishes


This is an ongoing project with no end date in sight.

ARMLS Support Center: Phoenix
5033 N. 19th Ave. Suite 113
Phoenix, AZ 85015
Mon – Friday 8:30 – 5:00

ARMLS Support Center: SE Valley
1363 S. Vineyard
Mesa, AZ 85210
Mon – Friday 8:30 – 5:00

Scottsdale Area Association of REALTORS®
4221 N. Scottsdale Rd.
Scottsdale, AZ 85251
Phone: 480-945-2651
Mon – Friday 8:00 -5:00 EXCEPT Tuesday
which is 9:00 – 5:00

ARMLS Main Office : Tempe
130 S. Priest Dr. Suite 101
Tempe, AZ 85281
Mon – Friday 8:30 – 5:00

ARMLS Support Center: Glendale
17235 N. 75th Ave. Suite E-160
Glendale, AZ 85308
Mon – Friday 8:30 – 5:00

ARMLS Support Center: Scottsdale
7600 E. Redfield Rd. Suite 170
Scottsdale, AZ 85260
Mon – Friday 8:30 – 5:00

Wall Street Journal Quotes The Phoenix Agents

To readers who found us via Realtor Heather Barr's quote in today's Wall Street Journal article "Bargain Hunters Descend, Cash in Hand", welcome! We're glad you're here and hope you enjoy our blog content.

Long-time readers who aren't Wall Street Journal subscribers might have missed our mention.  The story is behind the WSJ's subscription firewall and I don't want to tempt copyright lawyers by reprinting the entire article on this blog. You can read the article in its entirety here if you are an online subscriber or on page C10 if you get the print edition.

I talked with WSJ reporter Nick Timiraos about the growing number of cash buyers who see bargains amid the current housing price declines. Here's the quote:
"Cash investors have come right out and said, 'We can't make a return on our money in stocks or bonds,'" says Heather Barr, a Realtor based in Gilbert, Ariz., a Phoenix suburb. "They think Phoenix has had such sharp price declines that we've got to be near the bottom and real estate will be a safe place to put their money."

 

There are bargains to be had in the metro Phoenix real estate market. It’s increasingly easy to find properties in the suburbs that will cash flow immediately after installing a tenant. For those seeking a vacation home, houses are more affordable than they’ve been in years while mortgage rates are still near historic lows.

Looking for a bargain yourself?

We at The Phoenix Agents team have been working with bank owned properties and investors of all stripes lately so we're familiar with the banks' (often confusing) paperwork and requirements.

Click around and visit the various parts of our blog. We've got tons of great content, MLS searching with no registration required, and are ready to help you find the perfect property when you're ready to talk with an agent.

Browse properties listings.

When you feel like you've browsed enough and done the homework you wanted to, give us a call. We'll help you negotiate the best possible deal we always provide world-class customer service from start to finish, and beyond.


Let the bargain hunting begin!



Related Posts


  1. Inman.com quotes Jay Thompson, "the Phoenix Real Estate Guy"

  2. USA Today quotes Heather Barr on recent changes in mortgage industry

  3. Chris Butterworth interviewed by Phoenix's own Channel 3 TV about foreclosures

More Good News in Real Estate

Good news in real estate. For a change. Change we can believe in. Whatever floats your boat.


As a follow up to my partner Chris' comments about the recent MSNBC report that real estate is on the rebound, I present the following real-life deal.


East Mesa, Signal Butte & Elliot. 1509 square feet. Detached single family home. 3 bedrooms plus a den, 2 full baths. Eight year old construction. Open floorplan. Big kitchen. Freshly painted and carpeted. No visible evidence of damage or problems. Landscaping complete (this is a biggie in metro Phoenix, don't know how builders roll in the rest of the country).



Price? $148,900.

(The above is an asking price, contract price a bit lower and can only be revealed after close, but my buyer got a healthy discount.)

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raleigh-back

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Is it the right time for you to buy a house in metro Phoenix? That depends. Prices are dropping and mortgage rates are near 5-year lows. Sellers are often anxious to sell. Even the conservative Mark Zandi at Moody's has predicted we'll bottom out in 2009. But....


Do you plan to hold the property for more than 7 years? Will you be emotionally OK if prices drop another 10% or so in 2009? Will it cash-flow if you're buying as an investment? First time buyers, will you be happy here for a number of years?


It's not the best time for ALL folks to buy, but it could be a good time for you.


Interested in buying as an investor? See my broker (i.e. my boss) Jay Thompson - the Phoenix Real Estate Guy -  on the best way to get in to the foreclosure market.


Interested in making your first home purchase? Check out this article on how geography affects metro Phoenix home prices.


I've had a bunch of friends and clients ask me if there's ANY good news out there. There is, and this could be it for you. Hope this helps.

Scottsdale Condos On Auction Block

Luxury brownstone condos in the heart of Scottsdale are going on the auction block on February 8. Artesia developer Starpointe Properties called on Kennedy & Wilson Auction Group to handle the sale of 20 condos. They're using the auction as a sort of Grand Opening, given the current sad state of the real estate market.


Artesia is a 44-acre mixed-use community that is expected to include retail, penthouses, brownstones and townhouses. It's located on Scottsdale Road just north of Indian Bend (7275 N Scottsdale Rd, postal code 85253)


Originally priced at $1.1 to $1.4 million, the published reserve prices for the condos range from $450,000 for 2,907 square feet, up to $695,000 for just over 3,000 square feet. Prices vary depending on view and location within the community.


Interested buyers & bidders must register before the auction. Below is a brief rundown of auction terms and conditions.




  • Auction begins at 1pm on February 8, at the Artesia Auction Information Office, 7293 N Scottsdale Road #104, Scottsdale 85253.

  • A "How To Buy At Auction" seminar is being held at the Artesia Auction Info Office on Saturday, January 31.

  • Homes are available for tour and inspection daily, and documents such as the public report are also available onsite.

  • Bidders may bring a Realtor with them. The Realtor must pre-register, by February 5 at the latest.

  • Bidders must present a $5,000 cashier's check to enter the auction site. If buyer successfully wins a bid on a property, the $5,000 goes towards the purchase price.

  • Buyers who plan to purchase using a mortgage must present a prequalification letter from their lender. The builder has arranged financing with Countrywide, FSB and Homeowner's Financial Group. Buyers don't have to use these lenders but must be prequalified through them.

  • Cash purchasers must bring proof of liquid funds to the auction, in addition to their $5,000 entry fee.

  • All purchases must close escrow by March 10, 2009.


You can see more information online at ArtesiaAuction.com. You can even use my login username: heather@northphoenixagent.com


Interested? I do recommend you get a Realtor to attend the auction with you (I'm free!), and help you tour and inspect the property well before the auction. Just because the builder says these condos were previously priced at $1.1 million and up doesn't mean they're currently worth that. In fact, they wouldn't be holding an auction if they were worth anything like that. The developer, Starpointe Properties, isn't in bankrupcty or even in financial distress that I know of. They're just using a public auction to (hopefully) sell a bunch of condos quickly.


Read the Arizona Republic's article about the auction here.

Bad MLS Photos, The Flip Side

I post every once in a while about the truly horrible MLS photos that are out there. Today's post is the opposite. This is a stunning photo series of remodeled kitchen.




[caption id="attachment_1900" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="$435,000; 3bed, 2bath, pool, Awhatukee"]$435,000; 3bed, 2bath, pool, Awhatukee[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1901" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="15201 S Foxtail, Phx 85048"]15201 S Foxtail, Phx 85048[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1902" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="New cabs, counters, fixtures throughout"]New cabs, counters, fixtures throughout[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1903" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Gorgeous!"]Gorgeous![/caption]

This series is a showstopper. I look at MLS photos for hours at a time, every day. By the time I finished this 4-series of just the kitchen in this home, I was compelled to go back and look at them all over again. No wonder my clients loved it when they saw it online, and called me to make an appointment to see it.


That last photo looks like a magazine cover! Whoever took these should get a commission from the sale.


Goes to show ya, MLS photos can really make a difference.



By the way, this home is still actively for sale. It's like this throughout and shows like a Pottery Barn catalogue. The sellers are not my client but if you're looking for a 3/2 house in Ahwatukee with a pool and a great lot (and you're not already commited to a Realtor) I'm happy to show it to you. Call!

Related Posts



WalMart’s MarketSide convenience stores coming to Phoenix

According to the Natural~Specialty Foods Memo (and later picked up by AZCentral.com), WalMart is poised to open 4 new convenience stores in the Valley, under the name of MarketSide, as part of its new plan to continue its growth and dominance in the food-retail industry.

The sites will be former drug stores that were closed when CVS/Pharmacy purchased Osco stores in 2006. Each store will be approximately 20,000 square feet – about half the size of their smaller, Neighborhood Market stores, and about 1/10th the size of their Supercenters.

The MarketSide Store locations will be:

Mesa: 7561 E Baseline Rd

Gilbert: 910 E Elliott Rd

Chandler: 950 N McQueen Rd

Tempe: 838 W Elliott Rd

Considering the Tesco chain of Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Markets has just begun opening in the East Valley, it looks like the Phoenix area will be center stage for a convenience store revolution over the next few years. Gone are the days of seeing a 7-11 on every corner!

Your hoping they carry healthy food Realtor,

Chris Butterworth

[tags] WalMart, MarketSide, Tesco, Fresh & Easy, convenience store, Mesa, Gilbert, Chandler, Tempe, Fletcher Heights [/tags]

Pool Safety – ISR teaches infants to swim

Anyone who lives in Arizona knows that pool safety is a hot button – one of those topics you hear about all summer long. Heck, we've written about it 3 times this summer alone! (Extra Pool Safety; Pool Barrier Regulations in Arizona; City of Glendale Supports Drowning Awareness with Purple Ribbons). 99% of what's usually written or reported about this topic focuses on the same information – "Be aware of your kids around water." and "Have a good pool barrier."

Well, maybe it's time to try something different. Maybe the best defense is a good offense. I saw a video today that blew me away! I had never heard of the Infant Swimming Resource before, but you can bet I'm going to learn more about it, and probably become one of their biggest supporters.






Give this a couple of minutes of your time; you'll be glad you did.

http://www.childdrowningprevention.com/index.html

- Chris Butterworth

[tags] Infant Swimming Resource, Pool Safety [/tags]

Peoria and Gilbert are fastest growing cities

According to the most recent US Census statistics, Peoria ranked 7th and Gilbert ranked 5th among the fastest growing U.S. cities with more than 100,000 people.

While we're all accustomed to seeing results like this (since all parts of Maricopa County have been ranked in one category or another), it's still great news for the area as a whole. More growth means more economic development, and if it's well managed growth it will continue to increase the overall desirability of the area. This creates a cycle of continued growth, which is what helps to make the Greater Phoenix area a destination for people from across the country.

The bad news is that when you go to a DBacks game, a good portion of the fans are cheering for their original "home team". The good news is that our real estate market will continue to be very strong over the long term, which adds to the belief that our current over-supply of homes on the market is a temporary situation.

Here's a copy of the article from AZCentral.com.

- Chris Butterworth

Listing in Gilbert: Spectrum at Val Vista



We have a listing in Spectrum at Val Vista in Gilbert. It's an Amberwood-built home, upgraded throughout, with 2,855 square feet on one level. It's reasonably priced at $519,900. You can find all the details at www.3015SColonial.com.

While this web site's main purpose is to inform our readers, encourage thought, share ideas, and generally make our inter-office discussions public, we also realize you never know who might know somebody who's looking, and we owe our clients maximum exposure. To our valued readers, please take this in stride; we don't have any advertising on this website, and our posts about listings represent a very small percentage of the overall content. Plus, you might even find something of value from this listing! Thank you.


- Chris Butterworth

Gilbert Rated 4th in the US for low crime rates

Go Gilbert Arizona!  While reading Time magazine this week, they had a small article rating US cities which were highest and lowest in crime.  Gilbert came in 4th for crime safety according to the article.  Not suprisingly, Flint and Detroit Michigan were two of the highest cities for crime rates (1st and 4th if I remember correctly). 

It's nice to see happy little Gilbert scoring so high for low crime rates!

Whole Foods coming to Chandler and Scottsdale

If you haven't been to Whole Foods in Phoenix or Tempe yet, you're in for a treat!  Whole Foods is expanding into two new locations this year - one in Chandler on the corner of Ray Rd and the 101/Price Freeway, and the other in Scottsdale at Scottsdale Rd and Mayo.  Word has it that both locations will be double the size of their Tempe and Phoenix stores, which means lots more selection and items to choose from.

I've been watching the construction on the Chandler Whole Foods, and it's coming along quick!  If you're looking for a smaller natural food store, there's also Sprouts on the corner of Ray and Dobson (only 1 mile from the in-progress Whole Foods).  The Chandler location supposedly will also feature a few drive-thru restaurants (wouldn't that be great if we had some drive-thru's that were healthy?!?!) as well as a handful of shops in the same complex. 

I'm glad to see more and more natural and organic food stores popping up in Phoenix.  It seems the healthy life-style of Northern California is filtering our way.  Of course, I enjoy my greasy fast-food now and then, but it's fantastic to have the CHOICE of foods available and close to home.

Water Play in the East Valley

Now that summer is here and school is just about out, are you wondering what in the heck your kids are going to do all summer long?  Water always keeps them entertained and wears them out.  My favorite place is the Kiwanis Wave Pool in Tempe - it's heated, it's indoors (so you don't bake in the sun and heat while watching your kids play), it's not expensive and it's tons of fun!  I know that I burn easily and also get headaches from sitting in the sun, so an indoor pool is about the only way I'll agree to take my kids swimming in the summer.

If you haven't been yet, the Kiwanis Wave Pool features 3' waves every few minutes, plus two waterslides and tubes and rafts for rent.  The shallow end is perfect for little ones who want to get their feet wet but aren't good enough swimmers to head out into the waves.  They also have concessions to keep your tummy from rumbling while you're there. 

The pool is located at 6111 S All-America Way, which is south of Baseline and West of Mill Ave in Tempe.  Summer hours start May 28th and run from 1230-430pm each day.  Adults are $6 while kids 3-17 are $3.  However, it's 1/2 price between 230-430! 

 See you there!�

Arizona Sights & Wonders: Canyon Lake Day-trip



As a near-native - I've lived here since I was 5 years old - I've taken for granted many of the sights and wonders that Arizona has to offer.  I can't count the number of times I've been to the Grand Canyon, and have also visited many, many other fantastic places in the state.  A very good friend of mine whose family moved here from Seattle has lived here for about 6 years, and has not had the time or knowledge to venture out to experience Arizona.  So, this series of blogs will be for her... and the many other non-native Phoenicians out there who would like a "place to start" from the point of view of someone who has been there.

Some of these trips are ones that a mom could tackle on a day during summer vacation.  Others are ones that will require more planning... maybe even an overnight stay.  So, as I write these posts, I'll be sure to label the trip a day-trip or a weekend trip.  Of course, some of the weekend trips you might want to take more time to enjoy.

Last week, I visited Canyon Lake with my church as part of a get-together.  It has been many years since I was first there!  Even though the weather was chilly, many children swam and splashed around at the lake's edge while the adults played horseshoes, volleyball, and some tried fishing or hiking.  I was amazed at the beauty of the lake.  It's called Canyon Lake for good reason: a canyon literally shoots up as a magnificent back-drop to the main part of the lake that is visible to those who choose to stay ashore.  But, for those who decide to venture further back, the canyon walls surround you, and the view is truly one to be experienced first-hand.

There are many things to do at Canyon Lake, and it might be wise to plan your trip according to the activities you plan to experience.  For example, if you want to fish, you better research when and where the lake is stocked so that you don't go home empty-handed.  If you plan to rent a boat (several types are available to choose from) you might want to reserve one ahead of time so you guarantee that one will be there for you.  There is also the famous Dolly Steamboat which hosts hundreds... maybe thousands... of passengers each month on dinner cruises (which often sell out) and the like.  You will want to research everything that the lake area has to offer before you go, because it's definitely a day-trip for those who live in the west or northwest valley.  By a day-trip, I mean it will take approximately 1 1/2 hours to get there (depending on traffic and freeway closures) :), and depending on the activities you want to experience, you'll want enough time to take advantage of those!

To get there: head East on I10 and exit to the 60.  Take the 60 to the Idaho Rd. exit.  Turn north on Idaho Rd. and follow it to Highway 88 (commonly referred to as the Apache Trail).  Head northwest on the Apache Trail until you see Canyon Lake.  Drive very carefully as the road winds through the mountains with some perilous drops.  You will eventually come to a one-lane bridge... I imagine this is a bottle-neck when very many people plan a day at the lake... and you're there!  You'll need to get a parking pass which costs approximately $6.  Enjoy your day!

Click here to research activities at Canyon Lake.

Here Come the Chihuahuas!

Now THIS sounds like a fun event!  For Chandler's Cinco De Mayo Celebration (on May 5th of course), they'll be hosting Chihuahua races at the downtown Public Library.  I've been to the Weiner Dog Races at Phoenix Greyhound Raceway and boy were those good for a laugh!  All those little dogs running their short legs as fast as they can.  Of course, they are not bred to be racing dogs, so you get the joy and laughs of watching them run off the course, get to the finish line and then turn around and run all the way back, sniffing around instead of running, and basically being disoriented enough that who knows which weiner dog will win!  It's a great event to bring the family to.

As for the Chihuahua races, they run from 6-7pm (although the whole event runs from noon-8pm) and concludes with a crowning of the Queen and King Chihuahua from 7-8pm.  If you've got a little racer you want to sign up, they'll be registering 150 dogs for the races at 1pm with a $10 entrance fee. 

I've got a little Chihuahua/Min-Pin mix that I'd love to register to race, but I think she'd probably rather focus on picking fights with the other Chihuahuas than actually racing.  But then again, watching a gaggle of small dogs with big attitudes decide who's the Alpha Dog might be amusing too (with no actual fighting of course!).

Got Dead Plants? - Chandler Bulk Pick-Up Can Help!

I spent the majority of this past weekend cleaning out all the plants and bushes in my yard that died this winter in the frost.  Boy, there were more than I thought and I did suffer a few scrapes from those dead branches giving me some trouble!  I got them all into piles and bags and then thought - now what?

In north Tempe (where I've lived for the last 30 years) you can put your yard waste and bulk items out once a month for free pick-up.  Now that I'm in Chandler, I've realized it's a different story.  You still can have your yard waste picked up, but only twice a year for free and you have to call to schedule.  Well, okay it's a little more work, but I can handle it!

I suppose it makes for much cleaner streets in Chandler, as in north Tempe, it seemed there was a constant scene of furniture, tree trimmings and basically junk out in front of the houses at any given time.  Given that it was a high-rental neighborhood, there was always a pile of someone's belongings that they didn't want to take with them when they moved. 

I suppose Chandler's route just makes me do my big projects all at once instead of in smaller increments.

If you live in Chandler and you've got dead branches or plants you're looking to remove, call the Chandler Recycling-Solid Waste Collection Center at 480-782-3510 to schedule your pick-up.  It's really not that hard, as I've found out!

More Development for Chandler

Metropolitan at Chandler is the newest upscale development to hit the northwest end of Chandler.  Supposedly breaking ground this summer, for completion in 2-3 years, the development is located just West of Chandler Fashion Square and boasts 12 acres of shops, restaurants and upper-level residences.  The condos are slated to sell for $225-450,000 for studios and 1-2 bedrooms.  Wow! 

I'm sure most residents who live near where the development is set to go in, aren't thrilled with the idea of more people and traffic on their streets.  Especially considering the stalled project just South of Chandler Mall - an 8 story shopping and condominium project that looks like a bomb hit it.  Yes, it's a huge eyesore and who knows if it will ever be completed?

On the other hand, dual-use Real Estate seems to have it's advantages.  If you can live, work and shop all within walking distance of your home, who needs a car?  Well, okay, that's pretty extreme, however, think how much less driving (and pollution) those residents will incur.  As well as the hope that if you're walking or biking your way around, maybe an actual "community" will develop.  What?  You might actually know your neighbors?!

It will be interesting to see how Metropolitan at Chandler develops and whether the live above/work below philosophy will actually fly here in the Southeast Valley.

Mesa Waterpark @ Riverview

Although Surprise was expecting to be the site for a revolutionary water park, in the end, Mesa has convinced the builder that their offer was a better fit. Currently, there are 3 water parks in the metropolitan Phoenix area (not including those which require a hotel-stay)... Waterworld Safari in North Phoenix, Big Surf in Tempe, and Golfland Sunsplash in Mesa. I don't know all of the details regarding the two cities' offers, however, I can look at a map and determine for myself that a water park somewhere in the far West Valley (Surprise, Waddell, Glendale, Litchfield Park, Goodyear, Buckeye) would have given many current West Valley residents a much closer alternative than the 3 listed above, not to mention the not-too-distant-future residents who will be looking for relief from the sun.

Honestly, if it was just me, lounging by my own pool would satisfy me on hot, summer days. But, I have children. 4 of them! And, occasionally they prefer something out of the ordinary. I remember being a kid and going to Big Surf for a special day with my family, or heading to Waterworld with my teenage friends. It would have been nice to have a water park a little more local than 45 minutes away. With the Cabela's store now open in Glendale, I would have figured that the water park would profit from those shoppers/visitors as well. The new water park sounds intriguing with its projected offering of snorkeling, white water rafting, and surfing, in addition to other sporting activities.

The $250 million dollar resort/water park is being built by Waveyard Development LLC, out of Scottsdale. When the entire project & surrounding development comes to fruition, it will likely be over $500 million.

A November referendum could have an impact on this park as the developers have asked for residents' input to make sure they are "on board with the deal," prior to any construction. Additionally, a deal with the city (likely to include incentives) must be satisfied to determine how to best convert a municipal golf course and softball fields into a private, world-class amusement park. At this point, I don't know what private means... whether a membership, reservations at the resort, or simply an admission ticket will be required.

We'll have to follow up with the referendum and the city deal to know whether or not this waterpark will, in fact, be constructed in Mesa, but that's how it looks at this time.

Click here to read the article

Green Living in Scottsdale

Sustainable Living, Green Living, Eco-Friendly Environments – how many of us have even heard of these ideas here in the Phoenix area? Or know how to apply them to our choices in regards to housing and daily living?

It seems rare that these phrases come up in our conversations. I’ve seen and heard them much more often in places such as Northern California, Oregon and Washington. I think the ideas and values are just starting to filter into our consciousness here in Phoenix, where we might need them just a bit more than other cities, given our natural environment of the arid Sonoran desert.

One new project that I’ve run across is the Optima Camelview Condominium Village located near Fashion Square Mall in Scottsdale. It features a green rooftop to help cut down on electricity costs, increase oxygen emissions, reduce the city’s heat index, as well as provide a relaxing environment for those living there. The rooftop is called “Green”, however, those forward thinking souls at Optima are planning for desert-native plants to be installed, in keeping with the philosophies of Green Living and low-water usage.
Here’s an article with more information on the Optima project

I fully believe in our abilities to exist in harmony with our natural environments, if we are just given the tools to do so. I applaud Optima for being the first Green Living Rooftop (that I know of!) in the Valley. Hopefully by being a frontrunner on the track of Green Living, they will help pave the way for more and more projects to embrace Sustainable Living ideas into our city environments.

Southwest Landscaping in Chandler

We live in the desert, yet so many of us have this innate desire for green grass, lush trees and vegetation, colorful flowers and golf courses.
We desire landscaping that visually appeals to us, whether or not our environment can sustain it. I know that I personally am more attracted to houses and yards with flower gardens, shade trees and lots of grass! The color green seems so much easier on the eyes than the harsh reflective glare of the desert, especially in the summertime, doesn’t it? Large shade trees also make the whole of the valley seem just a bit cooler when the temperatures are soaring above 110.
However, we have to step out of ourselves for a moment and consider the future of both Arizona and the planet we live on. We live in the desert where water has to be pumped in to maintain our desires for landscaping. This may be working well for now, but with the growth rate of the Phoenix area, where will we be in 20 or 50 years, or even 100? It’s hard to consider how our actions now will affect future generations after we’re long gone, but I believe we humans are starting to get our minds to shift and think beyond our current life expectancies!
Back to the topic at hand, is it possible to create landscaping that both appeals to our visual senses of beauty as well as supports our desert environment and water resources?
The City of Chandler thinks so! The City of Chandler Parks and Recreation Department is offering a FREE 3-part Southwest Landscaping Course to help those of us who are stuck in the grass rut! These classes are only available to Chandler utility residents (but check your local Parks and Recreation Departments and see if they are running something similar) and will be held on Tuesdays this Spring. In addition, the City of Chandler is also featuring free irrigation classes as well. You can’t beat that!
Click here for more information on the classes and enjoy!

Scottsdale's Shuttle

I read an article about the free shuttle running in downtown Scottsdale, and I have to say I'm a little bit torn. When public transportation works well, it can be something really special - the cities, the commuters, the environment - everyone wins. But when public transportation doesn't work well, it can feel like a blight on the city - have you ever been on a dilapidated city bus with a few other people, none of whom looked capable of holding down a steady job?

Public transportation tends to work best when there are geographic areas with lots of people, lots of movement, and short distances (think Manhattan, New York). Tempe has a shuttle called FLASH (Free Local Area SHuttle), which runs around ASU and downtown Tempe. This is how public transportation should work - it's easy, runs often, and stops close to wherever you might need to go.

Scottsdale started a shuttle service for the downtown Scottsdale area, and while the concept is similar, I'm not sure about the results. The service runs along a medium-sized route, with another shuttle coming every 20 minutes. They were running about 75 passengers per day earlier in the spring, but ridership has increased to about 240 passengers per day. That sounds pretty good, until you hear Scottsdale is subsidizing the service at a cost of about $800,000 per year. Some quick, back of the napkin math tells me this works out to about $9.00 per person per ride.

I'm not sure whether to praise Scottsdale for raising the bar on transportation, or to criticize them for wasting so much money... I'm going to keep my eyes on it, and reserve judgement for a later date!

Read the AZCentral.com article here.

-Chris