Vex Harrow
Posted: May 23, 2013 at 11:44 am
Subject: Mill Avenue Headed for a New Renaissance?

Many of us recall Mill Avenue as a cultural space filled with interesting music, amazing artwork, and a sort of strange Bohemian-revolutionary crowd-filled-menagerie (this was basically what it was like in the early 90s.) That vision and zeitgeist faded swiftly as the Ave began to become also a mecca for corporate storefronts, fly-by-night outlets for major brands, and that culture stomped underfoot for what seemed to be the big-bucks—and then finally died in a fleeting whimper during the economic downturn of the 2000s.

There’s been a few attempts to reinvent and reignite that cultural space and Mill Ave still has a lot of interesting things going on and once again, it’s becoming more of a social and creative space than it has been in a long time.

So when I see articles talking about how investments are pouring into the Ave, they pique my interest. An article in the Phoenix Business Journal caught my eye where a discussion of how tech companies are helping out may help revitalize this still-simmering economy on the Ave (warning pay-wall.)

We’ve seen this slowly creeping in through the cracks—and while I do not put much stock in the Tempe Town Lake or the Light Rail (since neither has been leveraged in a creative or a cultural sense) I do see that there’s a lot that can be done with the crowds and the gathering-space of the Ave itself.

Not too long ago, Tempe thought a Geek’s Night Out would be a good thing, and I agree.

And, there was this (unsucessful) Kickstarter campaign to get a gaming console café on Mill Ave again—no doubt similar to eJoy. I hope that we can see something like this actually work. With the attention of tech companies, though, we might see the visualization of something that could bring in a technologized cultural space amidst what is mostly bars and restaurants.

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