PHOENIX — The Phoenix Community Alliance awarded two people with Center City Awards for their positive impact on the city.
Among all the new development that has popped up in Phoenix in the past few years, The Churchill is doing business a little more creatively.
“Create something downtown that was built around supporting small and local businesses,” Kell Duncan explained, the owner of The Churchill who received the Center City Newcomer Award.
The Churchill, located on 1st Street just south of Roosevelt in downtown Phoenix, is designed out of repurposed shipping containers with an open-air food court and retail facility. It’s home to two bars, four restaurants and four retail shops.
Duncan had more in mind than just creating space, he wanted to also serve the community. Each tenant has in their lease agreement something called social rent.
“The idea was you can either volunteer or donate a portion of your profit to a cause or nonprofit issue that is important to you,” Duncan said.
Just south of downtown in Central City South is an area that includes the downtown railroad tracks south to the Rio Salado and 16th Street west to the I-17.
Eva Ordonez Olivas, who received the Center City Champion Award, is the executive director and CEO for the Phoenix Revitalization Corporation – an organization that helps lower-income neighborhoods just south of downtown advocate for themselves with education and access to resources.
“Some neighborhoods are more challenged than others. Some neighborhoods don’t receive as much attention as others and therefore their quality of life is different,” Olivas explained.
Among the successes over the years include better sidewalks and lighting for the neighborhoods and advocating the city to turn vacant lots into affordable housing which is already taking place off 7th Avenue and Buckeye Road.
“We don’t like vacant lots because they attract crime. We’re very happy the city of Phoenix was able to partner with Habitat for Humanity to build single-family homes there,” said Olivas.
As the city continues to rise and expand with development what would Kell and Eva like to see happen along the way?
“There’s a real urgency to address to really address the affordability of living in Phoenix,” said Olivas.
“Make sure we’re creating opportunities that are equitable for everyone, really,” said Duncan.
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