It was a chilly evening on December 14, 2008. Dave and I were driving to a restaurant in downtown Colorado Springs. I saw hundreds of people, young and old, running and walking, some pushing strollers, some with their dogs. I said, “What are all those people doing out here in the cold and dark?” He replied, “Oh, those are the Jack Quinn Runners. They’re out here every Tuesday.”
I had to know more, so we arranged to meet with the manager of Jack Quinn’s Irish Pub. We learned that the concept was a social run, with an added benefit of bringing business to Jack Quinn’s. Click here for details. On February 3 we attended our first Jack Quinn run, although we are walkers. The excitement was addicting, and what we noticed especially was that after the run people were staying around to have dinner and drinks downtown. We imagined what a regular crowd of active people like this could do for downtown Tucson. At that moment the concept of a weekly walk/run in and around downtown Tucson was born.
Now we had to make it happen. We knew we needed a significant crowd from day one, to ensure that the excitement would catch on. Hence, it was time to bring the idea to Randy Accetta and Southern Arizona Roadrunners (SAR). Randy shares our passion for building community, especially downtown. He immediately offered his leadership, and brought with him a commitment from SAR to make it an official SAR event.
Now we needed a location. We thought that Maynards Market and Kitchen, near the old train depot was the perfect gathering spot, and we had heard about Richard and Shana Oseran and their commitment to downtown. Todd Hanley, the general manager of Hotel Congress/ Maynards Market was our first stop. Todd shared our vision from the start and offered to host the event every Monday. It didn’t take long to come up with the perfect name, “Meet Me at Maynards.”
Now, how do we get people to stay downtown after the walk/run? Easy — let’s design a route that passes some great restaurants, and ask each of them to offer a discount special to entice people to return. And they did!
On April 13, 2009 Meet Me at Maynards, sponsored by SAR, became a reality.
For the past several years negative news has been plentiful about downtown. This, compounded by freeway and downtown street construction, and then the 4th Avenue underpass, which links downtown to the University of Arizona, closed for two years, has made downtown Tucson unappealing to many. Downtown is the place you go for traffic court, or to stand in line to apply for a passport, while you worry about the parking meter, because you don’t know where else to park. How about a day of jury duty to add to downtown’s appeal? This is what downtown means to too many people.
We want to encourage people to rediscover our downtown — to appreciate its history and beauty, it’s architecture, and the many restaurants and entertainment venues that provide a rich variety of experience.
We see Meet Me at Maynards as a way to begin to change the way people see our downtown. It is a weekly opportunity for socializing and healthy exercise, with the end-result contributing to downtown’s and the surrounding area’s prosperity.
Our vision is — hundreds of vibrant, active people eating, drinking, talking and laughing, with the sound of live music playing. It’s safe, convenient and affordable — an experience so positive, they can’t wait to tell their friends and co-workers.
Jannie Cox and Dave Syverson