During a Flagstaff City Council Work Session on Nov. 28, Mother Road Brewing Company owner Michael Marquess reported that last year, the brewery made 4,400 barrels of beer. Soon, the business, which recently celebrated its sixth anniversary, will be on tap to brew 20,000 with the opening of a larger space. Mother Road is investing $1.8 million into its Butler Avenue brewery, which is scheduled to open in the next couple of months.
“It was the support of Flagstaff that got us through to that sixth anniversary,” Marquess said. “Flagstaff is home, we want to grow and continue to build a beverage business here. So, keep watching for us to do more things.”
CEO and President of the Greater Flagstaff Chamber of Commerce Julie Pastrick told the Council that 2017 has been a good year in building a better community and listed a variety of accomplishments, including increased involvement in Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) by area youth; a partnership with Coconino Community College to host the Small Business Development Center; and the 27th year of honoring successful career women who mentor other women with the Athena Awards.
“We take great pride in building and serving as a strong catalyst for our community,” Pastrick said.
Downtown Parking Improving for Shoppers
Among the presentations was an annual update on the Flagstaff Downtown Business and Revitalization District.
The City of Flagstaff Community Design and Redevelopment Manager Karl Eberhard began by saying, “There’s so many exciting things going on downtown, it’s just mind boggling.”
Terry Madeksza, executive director of the Flagstaff Downtown Business Alliance (FDBA), discussed the new parking system that was implemented in October.
Parking is one of the FDBA’s issues of priority, Madeksza told the Council. For more than two years, the alliance listened to businesses, neighborhood residents and partners outside of the city to address the parking concerns for downtown, which eventually led to a comprehensive program on parking. There was extensive outreach – open houses, meetings, direct emails, newsletters and the creation of a website to elicit feedback on the program.
“This did not happen overnight,” Madeksza said.
The response, she added, was one of near unanimous support from downtown businesses, neighborhoods and partners. And, the results, so far, based primarily on direct conversations with businesses, is that the businesses are benefitting from the new paid parking because their customers now have spots to park. The plan isn’t perfect, Madeksza added, and it is flexible enough to be tweaked moving forward.
Also among the year’s accomplishments was the creation of the Clean Team Ambassador Program devoted to cleaning public spaces downtown – sidewalks, alleys, graffiti eradication, picking up trash (121 pounds of it in the month of October alone), helping visitors and residents and answering parking questions.
“We are very excited and proud about the job that they’re doing,” she said.
The FDBA also decided on a brand and has created a series of events to entice people downtown throughout the year and during this holiday season.
“No matter what day you come to downtown Flagstaff, there is something for the holidays for you to do,” she said.
Arts Impact on the Economy
Flagstaff Arts Council Director John Tannous updated the council on the economic impact the arts and sciences have on the city. He gave a brief presentation on the results of a study conducted by a national agency that supports local arts councils throughout the country.
The findings: The arts and sciences in Flagstaff have a $90 million economic impact last year, with $52 million spent by local non-profits and $38 million spent by audiences. Additionally, about $20 million of that spending comes from tourists.
“So, people are traveling here,” Tannous said. “They’re attending these festivals. They’re having a great time, and they’re spending money out in the community.”
The spending amounts to about $9 million in tax revenue, and supports more than 3,000 full-time jobs throughout the community – not just in the arts, but across the job spectrum.
And compared to the last study, conducted in 2012, the trend is growth. Tourist spending has increased, and it is an area that the city can capitalize on in the future, he said. FBN
By Larry Hendricks, FBN