It’s a cliché by now – but this year has been really rough.
For downtown Tempe, this year started off on a very high note. Our businesses were flourishing, our events were exciting and successful, and we had just established a 5-year strategic plan that, if implemented, would have brought a new vitality to our downtown.
The past 10 months have been draining on our organization, but we promise, there is still a shining light through those dark storm clouds that hover over our heads.
This has been a year of constant adaption and innovation for the Downtown Tempe Authority. We’ve done our best to think outside the box and find new avenues to maintain downtown Tempe’s vibrancy.
Here are some of our shining successes over the past year!
Community: Tempe Mission Campaign
In the summer of 2016, the Downtown Tempe Authority launched the Tempe Mission Campaign with the goal to increase awareness and raise at least $100,000 for the service providers that aid our unsheltered downtown community members.
This month, the four-year campaign ended and a total of $106,206.85 was raised for this campaign, in both cash and in-kind donations. Contributions came from local businesses, community partners, the City of Tempe, and corporate entities who shared in our mission to help those less fortunate.
The funds were distributed to the Tempe Community Action Agency, Care 7, Community Bridges, Salvation Army, City of Tempe HOPE team, ASU’s EPICS program, and the Aris Foundation.
Activations: “We’re in this Together” Fence Art
Before the pandemic, downtown Tempe partnered with local artist Danielle Fouchée to create some beauty around a not-so-pretty fence around Hayden Four Mill. Less than a month later, we had no idea the message would become so inspirational and relevant – “We’re in this Together.” Because simply, we are.
In addition to making our downtown vibrant with local art, we also strived to bring community activations that inspired a sense of belonging, community, and fun. We accomplished this in 2020 with our 6th Street Market, Foodie Strolls, Downtown Tempe Holiday Special, and special, experiential items like a huge ornament, a massive candy cane, and a 40 ft. Christmas tree!
And most notably, in June, we launched Project: Spread the Love. We gathered three diverse artists to bring their talents to downtown Tempe and showcase their own unique expression of community love. Downtown Tempe strives for inclusion, equality, equity, and love for everyone and wanted to bring that message to our communty through art.
Events: Open Air Fun!
We were all very sad in announcing the cancelation of both Tempe Festival of the Arts events (spring and fall), the Fantasy of Lights Opening Night Parade, and the Fantasy of Lights Boat Parade but that doesn’t mean there wasn’t fun, exciting things to do in downtown Tempe this year.
This fall, we were able to host our annual 6th Street Market at 6th Street Park on every Sunday for two months (Oct. - Nov.). This gave the community something safe and fun to do and gave struggling local artists and businesses an outlet to showcase their amazing creations.
In addition, we helped bring a boost to our local, downtown Tempe businesses by launching two Foodie Strolls – the Eggesential Brunch Stroll and the Tac’over Stroll. These fun, free flowing events allowed people to enjoy their downtown and help support local businesses all at the same time!
Business: Stay Safe, Stay Supportive
As we all know, this year has been especially rough on small and local businesses. We have done our best to give our downtown businesses the resources they needed to make smart, informed decisions related to their survival.
In addition, we launched several interactive tools to help bring business to our amazing downtown merchants. These included a Virtual Tip Jar, a gift card directory, fun things to do during quarantine, signature dish spotlights, and most importantly, our Open Status Guide.
The Open Status Guide is updated frequently with who’s open, who’s available for takeout or delivery, their updated hours, and so much more.
Clean & Safe: Always on Watch
There is one major function that has not stopped during this crazy year and that’s our Clean and Safe program. Our clean team and safety patrol are still hard at work every day, making sure our downtown stays clean, sanitized, and safe for everyone.
This is YOUR downtown and we want to make sure it’s as safe, clean and welcoming as possible.
State of Downtown
If you want to learn more about what we’ve been up to this year and what we are planning in the future, check out our State of Downtown video on our Youtube page!
And don’t forget to follow up on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for updates on all the happenings in downtown Tempe.
Downtown Tempe is like nowhere else and we look forward to welcoming you back!
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