In the late 1980’s the Paiute Neighborhood was under going significant changes. Having formerly been a haven for winter visitors and Cactus League Spring Training baseball athletes, it was transforming into a convenient place for newly arrived immigrants, primarily from Spanish speaking communities, and their families to live while they worked in nearby resorts in Scottsdale. As this transformation took place, individuals and groups like the Holiday Park Property Owners Association became concerned by the changes.
Community Services and the Police Department responded initially with increased communication within the neighborhood, including participation in group meetings, planning and conducting special events and increased monitoring of neighborhood activities.
A Recreation Manager and a Police Lieutenant began meeting regularly with interested residents, Holiday Park property owners and apartment managers to identify issues and strategies to address their concerns. In those early meetings, the need for a facility to house meetings, services and activities, such as Head Start, was identified. During this period, the Recreation Manager pursued the feasibility of Head Start coming in to provide services. Without a facility, a decision was made to begin with home based Head Start.
A mini health fair was conducted at a nearby church on Osborn and the response on a rainy day netted close to 100 people. It was a wake up call to providers that there was a real need for services in the Paiute Neighborhood. A City of Scottsdale Human Services Planner executed a small contract to bring in a bi-lingual community organizer to work with the residents and city staff to start mobilizing the community. Along with 2 police officers, they we assigned to work out of the Paiute Park House. They worked with the Community Services Department to conduct recreational activities with the children.
The City contracted with EMPACT to do a needs assessment of the neighborhood as well as identify resources. It was clear the need for a facility was vital to the implementation of the needed services.
In 1993, the City of Scottsdale purchased 8 of 10 buildings of the former Paiute Elementary School, for the purpose of providing human services, which reflected the needs of the Paiute Neighborhood. The other 2 buildings housed the Villa de Marie Academy. The Paiute Neighborhood Center officially opened its doors in May of 1995.
The Paiute Neighborhood Center entered into relationships with several private organizations to adopt 8 city-owned buildings. These adoption fees provided additional amenities in the buildings that would not otherwise have been possible. These organizations were: Terravita by Del Webb, Motorola, Salt River Project, Soroptimists International of Scottsdale, Scottsdale Community College, Maricopa Intergrated Healthcare, Scottsdale Tribune and the Scottsdale Area Association of Realtors.
The renovated spaces were then filled with brokerage agencies that would provide the services to the families. They included: Scottsdale Bar Association, Scottsdale Prevention Institute, Scottsdale Healthcare, Scottsdale/Paradise Valley YMCA, Campfire, Boys and Girls Club of Greater Scottsdale, Maricopa County Head Start, Scottsdale Center for the Arts, Scottsdale Community College and Rio Salado College.
While the Paiute Center was forming, local businesses and community leaders came together recognizing the value of Scottsdale’s first neighborhood enhancement center. In the Spring of 1994 a group of 14 interested volunteers came together to form a non-profit organization to raise funds and promote the Paiute Center. After putting together by-laws and all the necessary documents, the Partners for Paiute Neighborhood Center were granted the their 501(c)3 status in November of 1996.
Fast-forward to 2016 and Partners for Paiute is celebrating 20 years of supporting the Paiute Neighborhood Center. In the last 10 years alone, Partners for Paiute has provided over $380,000 to the Agencies on campus through an annual grant process. Although there have been many changes at the Center, the unique needs of the neighborhood have not changed.
Today the following Agencies provide the services and programs to the families of the Paiute neighborhood: Boys and Girls Club of Greater Scottsdale, Handlebar Helpers, Hirsch Academy, Keogh Health Connections, Maricopa County Head Start and Scottsdale Prevention Institute. The City of Scottsdale has also relocated their Community Assistance department to the Campus.
Today, Partners for Paiute works tirelessly to support these agencies in ways that are both meaningful and unique. Our administrative costs are negligible, allowing almost 100% of our funds to be directed to the needs of this community. We focus on funding “the gap” where the larger organizations and fund raisers may not have access or availability to help. With community support and donations, we can continue to partner with the Paiute agencies and fund the needs of this neighborhood.