Culture News

Sean Sweat Proposes Downtown Park to Replace Parking Spots: "Love Dogs, Not Cars"

Sean Sweat's been running around downtown Phoenix for the past few weeks with a clipboard and a pen; he's gathering signatures for a dog park petition that he'll bring to the Phoenix Board of Adjustments and City Council on November 4. Sweat's serious about the dog park, and he doesn't even have a dog.

The engineer says he got the idea while talking to local photographer, Steve Dreiseszun, and he lives about 300 feet from the proposed spot, which is currently slated to become a parking lot.

"Phoenix has enough space for parking," Sweat says. "What it lacks is central, walkable community space."

Check out more of Sweat's plans after the jump ...

The background on the space: The City of Phoenix bought the city block housing the Sahara Hotel in February with plans (that are still current) to raze and pave the site, which will then remain a parking lot until the downtown ASU law school campus is finished.

Sweat's arguments against the entire space being used as a parking lot (as his plans for a dog park would only require a portion of the allotted space) are both simple and complex; he says there's pre-existing, unused parking lots in downtown, and there's an increased risk of Heat Island Effect.

His solution: Half of the proposed land, one acre, be turned into a dog park, which would be utilized by the surrounding community.

A map of the proposed lot (in red) and where Sweat currently lives, St. Croix Villas.
In the park proposal, the City would still pave the southern half of the site, about 120 spaces, while the northern half would be reserved for park space. It would create a focused pedestrian destination, Sweat argues, which would be highly utilized on the pedestrian-frequented First Street.

Sweat says he's been working with local businesses to help sponsor the park (read: maintain the park) in exchange for visible signage.

He (and his St. Croix Villas community) will bring the proposal to the Phoenix Board of Adjustments and City Council on November 4 at noon at City Council Chambers, 200 W Jefferson St..

"Most of the land owners have indicated that they would be in favor of this proposal," Sweat says. "So now we'll see if they put their money where their mouths are."

For more information, including the petition and hearing information, check out the proposal's official facebook page or email Sean Sweat at [email protected]