Mill Avenue is a collision of multiple cultures and a forum for both fun and exchange. We see lots of people gathering who want to visit the bars, stand on street corners, or simply carouse and hang out with their friends. As a result of this mixing of locals and tourists from both Phoenix and the rest of the United States, we see our own share of crime.
Some of that crime, of course, takes the fashion of vandalism.
This happens to be the problem Mill Ave is facing this year regarding the lights that get hung over the Yule season to make the trees look like they’ve been dusted with snow. According to an article in the State Press, Nancy Hormann, president and executive director of Downtown Tempe Community, Inc., spoke in front of a city quality of life council meeting to address the problems vandalism has brought to the red bricks,
I like driving down Mill Ave during the winter holiday and seeing those lights on the trees, it reminds me of distant days in the northern US when I experienced fog and light. Arizona isn’t for wont of fog, so much, so instead I use my imagination.
It strikes me that vandalism will happen. It saddens me that it was possible for $4,000 to happen from people just yanking down the lights and fixtures. Yes, most of the population has a tendency to act like toddlers and hang off everything they can—including the lampposts—but there’s no reason to rip down strings of lights wrapped around trees or take a swing at an unlit snowflake.
I am not a fan of The Festival Of Lights.
It’s a gigantic waste of electricity, even if it is essentially a marketing gimmick for APS. Yes, it’s pretty and interesting and brings interest to Mill Ave; however, we could do it much better with other things. In fact, the lights on Mill Ave are themselves expensive to operate and we might want to look into alternatives that use less electrical power for a similar effect.
The General Manager of Blondie’s Sports Bar and Grill on Fifth Street and Mill Avenue, Kevin Rodgers, weighed in on how drunk people behave on Mill Ave. “These people were ripping the decorations down, for no other reason but to be destructive,” he said.
As a result, the city will focus on decorations that are harder to damage.
With luck, we’ll see the lights along Mill Ave return on the Saturday after Thanksgiving until they’re extinguished again after December 31. This has been a tradition for Tempe and Mill for the last 20 years.
I’ll see you then.
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