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Arts, culture groups around Hance Park say big events are costing them

By Christina Estes
Published: Wednesday, July 12, 2023 - 5:06pm
Updated: Wednesday, July 12, 2023 - 8:24pm

An event at Phoenix
Brett Jaspers/KJZZ
An event at Phoenix's Hance Park in 2020.

As Phoenix attracts more big events downtown, some arts and culture groups say they take a hit. 

When Phoenix’s Margaret T. Hance Park hosts more than 20 large events a year — which can include festivals, concerts and the Super Bowl Experience — many roads around Central Avenue and Roosevelt Street are closed. Cyndy Gaughan says her organization, Phoenix Center for the Arts, loses revenue due to the closures.

“Sometimes we lose access to our building, sometimes we lose access to the associated parking, whether it's in the parking lot or street closures so we can’t conduct business as usual. That wasn’t the case back in the day, so the landscape has changed,” she told a Phoenix City Council subcommittee.

“We are in favor of economic development at Hance Park — completely in favor of that. What we’re not in favor of is the economic disparity that occurs to the nonprofits and other organizations that also call Hance Park home and are there working and serving every day," said the center’s CEO, Barbara Bassett.

Councilwoman Laura Pastor said she’s heard the same concerns from the Japanese Friendship Garden and Irish Cultural Center. She asked the parks department to work with the groups on a solution. 

A $100 million revitalization project is planned for the 32-acre park that runs from Third Street to Third Avenue. Phoenix has committed $15 million and private fundraising is underway