Scottsdale known as place for rich and famous but landscaping is far from glitzy

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Broken sidewalks, asphalt covered paving stones and empty planters. Scottsdale businessman Steve Johnson says it is hardly the picture you expect of a town known for luxury.

"Scottsdale has a big image for people coming here and tourism and stuff like that and so they have their mindset of what Scottsdale is, and then when they come to the downtown which is heart of Scottsdale, they are like what happened here?"

Johson owns kitchen and bath store, Atelier, on Craftsman Court in Scottsdale and he says the state of his street, isn't helping business. "Our clients come here and they are spending millions of dollars on their homes and they come to our street, and they are 'why don't you fix up your own street?'  type stuff."  

Johnson recently took several city officials on a tour of his street and nearby 5th avenue, pointing out problems. "These trees the roots are uplifting our sidewalks so a year and a half ago they ripped all this up, the curb and the asphalt. And they marked it again to rip it up again. " Like here", he points out a planter box, " there are no plants anymore there used to be plants all over that. This little concrete island here used to be fully landscaped before they tore this street up for the utilities.

And when they put asphalt back, they just concrete right over that. They just put asphalt tile right over the pavers, and that is just falling apart. " And Johnson says while it might not seem like it on the surface, all those things affect whether customers come to his and other downtown stores.

"We are competing with all the new developments, these lifestyle centers that have built around which those the actual concept of those are copying what we have down here. Ours are just tired and rundown and out of date. Why come here when you can go to a beautifully , well maintained, nice new complex?"

Landscape architect Chris Brown says there is a reason, shopping centers like Kierland, for instance, pay so much attention to lansdscaping.. "You are trying to create an overall sense of place amd within you want areas people can gatehr and sit, or just people watch, even when they are not sepcifically shopping." 

Johnson says creating that sense of place is just what the heart of scottsdale needs to keep on beating. "It is the asthetics it makes people feel comfortable, they want to be around a comfortable well maintained setting. "

Scottsdale city officials agree the area is in need of work, but say there is no money right now. Johnson has formed a neighborhood association to do some work. As for help from the city, he says he is glad that at least the area now seems to be back on the council's radar.