You may have seen my previous stories about the effort to put historic trollies on Grand Avenue as an economic development project. This low-cost project would help encourage new businesses along Grand Ave between Van Buren and Roosevelt –a trend that is already under way, but which could quicken and bring new income to Phoenix.
It came to my attention this last week that the folks at the Trolley Museum, where they house the historic trollies which we hope to use on Grand Ave., have received a proposal from a neighboring city to take our trollies and add them to their local museum.
From what I am hearing, the Phoenix Trolley Museum folks, not getting a particularly warm feeling from City of Phoenix, are seriously considering taking this other museum up on their offer. From what I hear, some in the City really want to take back the trolley museum building at Margaret T. Hance Park so they can use it for other things. They have gone so far as to encourage the Trolly Museum to move, but they have not provided a viable place for them to go.
The sad part is that there is a very viable option, which the Museum folks and GARP founder Robert Graham have been advocating for: put the trolly museum on Grand Ave., along with an accompanying trolly line that will encourage new business on Grand.
Thus their frustration.
Here is my concern: if the Trolley Museum moves to some other city, it will be even more difficult to see the GARP idea through and it will represent yet another Phoenix stab at historic preservation. Even sadder is the fact that the city does not need to lay out much money to make this happen. They just need to partner on proposals to the federal government for transportation dollars, which can be used for this purpose.
The estimated cost to build the infrastructure, outfit a new museum on grand and operate the system: $10 million. I believe that the resulting new home sales, infill development and business starts along grand will be worth ten times that.
Please contact your city councilmen and let them know that you support the Grand Avenue Rail Project.