Thursday, January 15, 2009

State of Mesa: Councilmember Dave Richins - District 1

This is the first entry in our new series, "State of Mesa." We have offered each councilmember an opportunity to submit their own editorial on the state of their District to be posted on Mesa Issues. Here is Councilmember Dave Richins' State of District 1:

There are some exciting things happening in and near District One in Mesa. Two significant projects have the potential to affect Mesa and District One for many years. No, it is not Riverview or Waveyard. It is Arizona Regional Medical Center (formerly Mesa General) and Banner Corporate Center East (formerly Banner Mesa Medical Center). Both expected to generate over 1500 jobs in west Mesa.

Arizona Regional Medical Center is a full service hospital. The Emergency Room is being operated by District One resident and long-time Emergency Room Physician Dr. Kent Layton. I have great faith in Doc Layton and he has brought confidence and quality to emergency medicine at ARMC. Additionally, ARMC recently passed its accreditation inspection through the Joint Commission on Accreditation, with the highest level of certification a hospital can receive. The inspector commented that in his many years of hospital inspections he has never seen a cleaner hospital. Check it out of yourself. I am sure glad it is there if I need it. A BIG thanks to everyone who helped preserve jobs and healthcare in west Mesa, particularly Rep. Mark Anderson, Robin Harris of the Mahoney Group and Board President of West Mesa CDC, and Mesa’s Economic Development, Planning, and Building Safety Departments. I would also like to extend a thank you to my predecessor, Claudia Walters, for all she did to smooth the process of approval and communication with the City of Mesa.

Banner Corporate Center East will employ over 1200 people supporting the entire Banner system. The first 60 employees moved into the totally renovated facility on Dec. 29th, 2008 and more will move in each month. Check out the excellent article on progress in the Jan. 10th, 2008 edition of the East Valley Tribune. A big thanks here goes to Mesa Grande Community Alliance for staying engaged with Banner and encouraging quality reuses of this facility.

Another big deal, timed to coincide with Spring Training’s return to the valley is “Play Ball – The Cactus League Experience” at the Mesa Historical Museum in Horne Road and Lehi Road in Lehi. I would encourage you to check it out if you are a baseball fan. Additionally, the Wallace and Ladmo exhibit is still there as well. If you haven’t been to the Museum in a while, I would suggest a visit to see the new exhibits and reconnect with Mesa’s past.

THE BUZZ! The buzz about what? The Buzz is a new free shuttle circulating around west Mesa and downtown. It links everything together. Light Rail, Metro Link, and The Buzz should get you anywhere you need to go, without a car, and with an easy link to the airport, you can go anywhere in the world! It also achieves one of the goals of the Mesa Grande Community Alliance revitalization plan. Check out my city council website at http://mesaaz.gov/citymgt/mayorcc/richins.aspx for more information on the Buzz.

Riverview. No State of District One report would be complete without an update on Riverview. Riverview Pointe, the office component of the project will be open late Jan. 2009. The Hyatt Place hotel hopes to be open by March for Spring Training. The owner of the hotel also owns the Oakland A’s and rumor has it that it will be the hotel home of the A’s during Spring Training. The big three, Bass Pro, Home Depot and Wal-Mart are still going strong. Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar and Grill hopes to be open in time for the Super Bowl. I haven’t seen official numbers but it looks like Riverview has produced almost $5,000,000 in sales tax revenue for the city so far. I have recently reviewed the rather cumbersome agreement between the developers and the city and things seem to be on track. I know some bristle at the incentives and a half full shopping center but always keep in mind two things, 1) this is a tough economy and the developer only gets money if the project generates sales taxes and 2) many aspects of the project have been built way ahead of schedule. It takes a while to absorb over a million square feet of shopping into the market. Be patient!

Waveyard, the dream is still alive. The Waveyard group is still working on securing financing for their project. They are working on deals in South Korea and Abu Dhabi as well as the project in Mesa. Waveyard is experience the same economic difficulties securing financing as many projects around the county. We are continuing to be engaged with Waveyard, in the meantime, enjoy a round of golf or join a softball league and have fun!

On Feb. 28th, 2008, instead of a Pancake Breakfast traditionally held by council members, we are going to stage a cleanup and beautification event called Top 2 Bottom. We are going to paint bridges (similar to the one on Alma School Road), clean alleys, vacant lots, illegal signs, remove old debris and tires, and paint out graffiti. We will be meeting in front of Home Depot and Mesa Riverview early that morning so come on by and pitch in to help. We will have breakfast and a free T-Shirt for all of our volunteers. Links to sign up are found on my council website at http://mesaaz.gov/citymgt/mayorcc/richins.aspx.

If anyone has questions or needs help on an issue feel free to call me at 480.644.4002 (office) or 602.625.5162 (cell). Please don’t call my cell after 8:PM, I have young kids! My email address is councilmember.richins@mesaaz.gov. Thanks!

2 comments:

Terry said...

I hope other Council members take the opportunity to fill us in on the good news in Mesa. Thanks Dave.

Heath Reed said...

Great stuff Dave. You know I am a big supporter of you and what you are doing to Mesa and in West Mesa in general.

Great to see the bridges are moving forward. Hope you guys can get some really creative new designs. Gets some local artist involved to design the bridges for free. Since AS road was our first, I would like to see us go above and beyond and show some pride in art, in community and a connection to the arts center and surrounding schools. You know, our orphan spaces program.