Phoenix mayor delivers inaugural State of the City address

Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton discussed ways to improve Phoenix, including possibly moving the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law to the Downtown campus, in his inaugural State of the City address Wednesday.

Stanton told the crowd at the Phoenix Convention Center that he is committed to working with ASU to bring the law school to downtown Phoenix, which is a plan he assured would benefit both Phoenix and the University.

“As the home to the government, the court system and private law firms, downtown is where any great law school belongs,” he said.

Stanton said officials have met on several occasions to discuss moving the law school downtown, where it would be closer to the courts and other legal facilities.

“Both sides want it, and it makes a lot of sense for ASU,” Stanton said. “It frees up space on the (Tempe) campus (and) puts their students and professors closer to where the legal action is … This is the next logical step.”

However, Jeremiah Chin, a first-year law student, said the move is a bad idea.

“Having the law school close to the (main) undergraduate campus encourages the undergraduates to come over and get involved in law school events,” he said.

Stanton said Phoenix will announce when plans are finalized.

He initially began his speech by assuring members of the audience that Phoenix is strong, but still faces many challenges.

“We are making the right choices, and we are making progress every day, but that’s not enough,” he said.

Stanton said an important factor in the progress of Arizona’s economy includes encouraging contracts with defense companies such as Honeywell and Lockheed Martin.

“These contracts and the high-wage jobs they bring in are central to our long-term economic development in Arizona,” Stanton said.

He also discussed the importance of continuing investment in research-based bioscience jobs.

Stanton said his plan for future collaboration among the Mayo Clinic, ASU and Phoenix will bring a second major biomedical campus to north Phoenix.

Stanton also stressed the need to revitalize vacant lots in downtown Phoenix.

“Vacant lots are a minus for our city,” he said. “They hurt the morale of neighborhoods and too often become targets for vandalism and graffiti.”

These eyesores can be remedied with partnerships with nonprofit organizations, he said.

Stanton then announced a partnership with the Barron Collier Companies, a Florida-based development company, to utilize the vacant lot at Indian School Road and Central Avenue.

“The Barron Collier Company is generously offering interim use of their property to allow us to showcase sustainable innovations that range from public gardens to urban farming and other great projects,” he said.

Stanton then said while the city has seen remarkable growth in its downtown area, it is now time to focus on attracting more people and events to create an even more lively city.

“Let’s capture the creative minds leading the exciting things in our downtown,” he said. “We need their leadership as we move forward.”

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