About Kate

When I was 12 years old, my parents put me on a plane by myself to visit my aunt in the heart of Chicago. My uncle was born in Chicago and knew the owner of every shop we walked into. They lived in a townhouse just blocks off Michigan Avenue and we spent 7 days getting the full flavor. We ate in hidden restaurants, listened to my uncle’s version of history, got fresh bagels every morning, and even checked out a transvestite show (not that I knew what that meant). Thirty years later I can remember every detail of that week, from the chewy exterior of those bagels to the cab driver that let me literally interrogate him on his livelihood. 

It took a while, but I finally moved to Chicago for graduate school. I think living in Chicago was pre-written, but every step since has been a journey of taking chances. I started my career in Peoria Illinois where I was schooled on the vibrancy that comes with culture and arts institutions. My time in Milwaukee showed me the power of bringing a community together through festivals, concerts, markets and lots of beer. Being in Fresno instilled the necessity for good infrastructure and leadership. But what makes a place stick with you is the depth of the experience. Chicago left its mark on the young me because every moment was distinctive and the people and places were all characters. 

Our organization provides great services, from parking management, ground support and safety patrol to marketing, event production and business development, but that’s just the above ground work. What we are truly charged with is to make certain that no one leaves Downtown Tempe without a wow moment. Whether someone breezes through for a short visit, spends a career working here, or raises their family in our neighborhoods, it’s our job to make sure that Downtown Tempe leaves its mark on everyone.


Tags: Community Candids

The End of an Era for Campus Corner

Posted 01.28.16 by Kate

A couple of months ago, a truck stopped on Mill Avenue and loaded up all the remaining ASU t-shirts, snacks, postcards, and other items...went the long distance over to College Avenue to fully stock the remaining branch of Campus Corner. For Mike Jennings, this was step one in closing his business of 26 years. We chatted with Mike about the history of Campus Corner, what it meant for him to close his doors, and what he plans to do next. 


Tags: Events

Halloween is Sadly Behind Us!

Posted 11.03.15 by Kate

Yes, the streets were packed with folks of every age enjoying the liveliness around them, but I wondered whether or not we should offer them something more to do.  I’m speculating here, but it appeared that all the businesses were booming, and from the looks of the ATM line, people were happily spending in Downtown Tempe.  And we love to see that!  But outside of the bars and restaurants, there were no outdoor activities.  I would like to hear from you …

What is the best thing about Halloween on Mill Avenue?

What, if anything, would you like to see added to the night next year?


Tags: Spotlight

Intersection - 7th & College

Posted 06.09.15 by Kate

I have always loved the concept of an intersection. The crossing of paths where vehicles, bicycles, and people are coming from different places, connecting in a defined space, and then proceeding in various directions.

Location: College Avenue Commons


Tags: Spotlight

I Want the Streetcar

Posted 04.27.15 by Kate

I’m not sure, but I think 2007 was my first time in Portland -- I had to go for a conference. At that time, I knew very little about public transportation...I was basically an event planner. My local Alderman had put me on a mission to get pictures of the Portland Streetcar since I was headed that way. He was advocating for a Streetcar and wanted photos for upcoming presentations. At that point, Portland was in construction of their first extension to their system. I got to the airport and took the light rail to downtown’s Pioneer Square (I heard about these small restaurateurs serving food out of short buses and I had to see for myself. Remember, I was an event planner). I laughed at the irony when the easiest route to my hotel was on the Streetcar, so I jumped on the Portland Streetcar and started shooting photos. Yes, I felt like a nerdy tourist.


Tags: Spotlight

Start Here

Posted 04.14.15 by Kate

Sometimes a place can impress itself so greatly upon you that you see the layers of time flipping forward and backward. Standing at Rio Salado and Mill Avenue, I always get a glimpse into a larger story. 

First, it all started here. This is where commerce started, this was the connection to other emerging cities, this was Tempe’s commencement.  And so this is also the origin of the grid. Do the numbers and Rio Salado is 1st Street, for all intense and purposes. The City grew out and you see that build as you walk South down Mill Avenue.


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