In 1998, a group of 7th Avenue Merchants decided to join together to improve their neighborhood. Challenged with crime and blight, the Melrose District was struggling to stay alive. Given the mission to facilitate safety, community, revitalization and beautification, its pioneering business owners, through the help of the City of Phoenix’s Fight Back Program, partnered with the School of Architecture at Arizona State University to develop a master plan to revitalize the Melrose Curve. Relying solely on funds generated by grants and the support of the surrounding neighborhoods, the Melrose District had slowly begun to rebuild itself. In 2001 these business owners officially banded together to form the Seventh Avenue Merchants Association, also known as SAMA.
Since its incorporation, SAMA has been noted worldwide and is a highly respected organization within the City of Phoenix, providing leadership and guidance to other associations looking to improve their neighborhoods. It serves as a model to City Leadership for the direction and focuses that the citizens of Phoenix desire. Its model is community involvement and cooperation to make our city a better place to live.
Through the work that SAMA has done, the Melrose District, which encompasses 7th Avenue from Camelback Road south to Indian School Road, has become a shining star in the Metro Phoenix area. From our lighted canopies with art panels that feature Local Artists to our annual M7 Street Fair that helps to show off the district as a safe place to live, work, shop and play.
The Seventh Avenue Merchants Association (SAMA), a 501(c)6 organization, was established in January,1998. It's mission is multi-faceted:
- Provide a voice to merchant members regarding issues that pertain to businesses in the SAMA zone of responsibility.
- Inform the community of events and news that pertains to both commercial entities and residents.
- Organize and host the 7th Avenue Street Fair and create an inclusive, fun-filled event for attendees.