When I was a child growing up in Phoenix I always questioned why there wasn’t a giant mythological bird rising out of South Mountain. As a teenager this idea re-emerged as a possible man made icon, a symbol of the city, and a national tourist attraction. Just like the St Louis Arch is the gateway to western expansion, The Phoenix Bird could similarly be symbol of one’s arrival to the West. However, as I grew up I realized that this was a whimsical and impractical fantasy. Not every major city had, or needed an iconic attraction… right? It always seemed to me that the hard working mentality of rise and fall, construction boom and sprawl Phoenix left no room for such sideshow antics. Then I read about ‘The Pin’, the proposed 430’ observation tower allegedly under serious consideration for approval by the city.
“The tower would rise on a tube of reinforced concrete, culminating in a vertigo-inducing open-air sphere containing flexible spaces for observation, recreation, retail, and exhibition functions within its spiraling structure. The lower hemisphere is slated for restaurants.”http://www.theatlanticcities.com/design/2013/03/phoenix-just-might-be-serious-about-building-pin/4957/
I now realize the Disney-fication of Phoenix is no longer taboo. So let’s commission a public art contest and RFP (request for proposal) to top South Mountain Park with an iconic bird as tall as the broadcast towers. A concrete steal and stone monument with a bird’s eye observation deck and mountain view restaurant at the base to satisfy the private investors. Let’s build a cable car from Scorpion Gulch to the mountain top completing the worlds fair like attraction, while still leaving some of the mountains roads and trails for nature lovers. Think the London Eye, the Golden Gate, the Colosseum, la Sagrada Família, the Kremlin, you know all the things not rebuilt in Vegas yet. Think of all the new traffic this would bring down Central Avenue. The hordes of tourists interested in the sight they saw out an airplane window. This would inject new life through an area much neglected by city developers over the years.
What the hell. I figure if we are desperate enough to build an empty water tower to nowhere just to create an icon for the city, maybe we should make it instead, well… the icon of the city. It would at-least satisfy my personal childhood fantasies.Jeffery is a native Phoenix area resident and lives in the Downtown Evans Churchill neighborhood. He has a Masters in Globalization and Development from The University of Sussex – Institute of Development Studies and a Political Science B.A. From A.S.U. He currently works as a Project Manager for a Phoenix based small business. All opinions are strictly his own. All rights on written and creative ideas are reserved.