Several Mesa residents would like to put to bed the notion that their city should become a destination for late-night entertainment, despite the tax revenue it would generate.
By a 2-1 margin, readers responding Friday to a Tribune survey said they do not want city officials to encourage trendy nightclubs and restaurants to open in Mesa.
The opinions were divided along generational lines, with most seniors adamantly against increased night life, and the majority of baby boomers and Generation Xers in favor of the idea.
"Let Tempe and Scottsdale have the establishments where someone walks out the door, and someone else kills them right there in the street," said Mesa resident Celia Cooley, 71.
Although most readers opposed importing highprofile hot spots to their city, developers of the Mesa Arts Center said they will be crucial to the downtown redevelopment effort, and that arts center patrons will demand them.
"It’s important that we have restaurants and develop some kind of night life in our community," said arts center administrator Randy Vogel.
Vogel said prohibiting businesses that serve alcohol would diminish downtown Mesa’s appeal to younger consumers, mirroring the sentiments of 40-year-old reader Christine Howard.
"Not everyone in Mesa is 65 and older," Howard said. "We would enjoy being able to go out and spend our money where we live."
Ruth Hutchinson of Mesa said the area near Fiesta Mall, southwest corner of Southern Avenue and Alma School Road, also is in serious need of revitalization. She said city officials are making a mistake by assuming all of their constituents are too conservative to enjoy trendy night spots.
"There are single adults in Mesa," said Hutchinson, who is in her 30s. "Not everyone is heavily involved with their church."
Still, Mesa resident Gertrude Smith, 82, said additional bars would bring the wrong people to the area.
"It’s not conducive to the right kind of living," Smith said. "I think that Mesa needs to keep itself clean."
Bill Landry, 63, was concerned that trendy nightclubs would increase the number of drunken drivers.
"I think it’s ludicrous to try to attract these people to a community such as Mesa," Landry said.
Only one Mesa senior, 65-year-old Earl Bielmaier, disagreed with his peers and said the city’s economic needs should come first.
"Mesa should do whatever is necessary to increase its tax base," Bielmaier said. "If that means bars and nightclubs, then certainly do it."