Downtown Mesa Enters a New Era
Downtown Mesa has a new face, new hours and a new way to get there. This historic downtown has been viewed for many years as the quaint and quiet town center where Mesa started. It has long since moved on from the days of big department stores and has recently grown into a mix of eclectic shops and restaurants with an active special events schedule.
The transformation of Downtown Mesa looks to have an even greater change over the next few years. The light rail construction sparked a movement among business owners to make Downtown better…and according to new Mayor John Giles, to make Mesa weirder. Merchants have worked together with organizations like the Downtown Mesa Association and Neighborhood Economic Development Cooperation (NEDCO) in creating a new culture for their community in effort to change the perception of a sleepy Downtown.
A new brand for Downtown Mesa has emerged reflecting the vibrant, urban arts and cultural center that businesses have worked hard at creating. Guerilla art, placemaking projects and a series of murals have popped up all over the square mile. The City of Mesa, Downtown Mesa Association and NEDCO have come together and allocated funds to the beautification of the square mile. Projects include murals, art installations, placemaking initiatives, improving landscaping and creating a new pedestrian plaza, with more projects planned through 2016. Designer Jeanette Knudsen with Design for a LifeSpan worked with the team to create a new color palette to update the beige colonnades that line Main Street. “Selecting the colonnade color palette for Downtown Mesa was a joyful and delightful challenge! My goal was to take what the team members envisioned and the existing elements (buildings, street lights, painted pavement, signage, clay roof titles, our desert environment, Mesa Arts Center…) and develop a colorful palette that interweaves beautifully together,” says Knudsen.
The Downtown Mesa Association took the lead on creating a new website, logo and tag line. The merchants have deemed themselves Makers and all specifically chose Downtown Mesa because they were attracted to the revitalization and wanted to make an impact – hence the new tag line of “Make Your Mark.” Fyresite, a web design and digital marketing company, crafted a new website that is more user friendly – including a detailed directory, interactive maps and better graphics.
For the past 30 years the Downtown Mesa Association has been an integral player in Downtown. The organization was formed by property owners as the first Special Improvement District in Arizona and has been charged with maintaining Downtown by overseeing a clean sweep program, parking management and business development of the square mile. In recent years, this organization has taken on a larger marketing and event role. “Over the past five years our organization has gone from executing one annual event and sponsoring two community events to planning over 60 event days per year and financially supporting over 10 community events,” says Downtown Mesa Association Executive Director, David Short. These events attract over 150,000 people a year. Short adds, “We have also been working hand-in-hand with the City of Mesa on business recruitment and retention and look forward to helping Downtown continue to grow into the vibrant heart of the City everyone desires.”
Head to Downtown Mesa to check out it out for yourself. While you’re there, hashtag #MyDowntownMesa when posting to social media for chances to win Downtown gift cards and prizes!