Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Happy New Year

After a few weeks off, we're back and ready to tackle the new year. While 2009 was marked nationally and locally by financial uncertainty, budget cuts, and job losses, we can hope that 2010 will be a year of renewal and opportunity. Here in Mesa, there are several things to watch over the next year:

The Chicago Cubs
While spring training tickets are already on sale for this year, the question looms on if the Cubs will stay in Mesa or if they will leave for Florida. Mesa remains firm in their commitment, but they have also made it clear that they expect the Cubs to come forward with an answer. Is there a Wrigley West in Mesa's future, or will be faced with losing millions in tourism revenue? We'll be keeping an eye on Keep the Cubs for the latest.

Gateway Airport and Surrounding Area
Gateway recently welcomed their 1 millionth traveler and Allegiant Air has announced that they will be purchasing 18 more planes. This is great news for the area as a travel hub. Now, we'll wait and see if there is good news about the aerospace incubator, the movie studio, the Gaylord Hotel and the future of ASU Polytechnic. As we have said before, the Gateway area has the area to lead not only Mesa's economic recovery, but the entire region's as well.

Budget Cuts
Mesa has already made dramatic budget cuts across the board and have reorganized local government to do more with less. The four day work week at City Hall appears to be working, and while the budget has been tight, public safety appears to be adequately maintained. We are, however, still at the mercy of rising and falling sales tax revenues, and there is still no telling what the State's looming budget shortfall will mean to the cities and towns. We may need to be prepared for more budget cuts in our future.

The Fiesta District
The end of 2009 was marked by a lot of talk about the Fiesta District and its future. From the constantly evolving strategic plan to the location of the new substation, it will be interesting to see if all of the talk translates into actual changes. Mesa's long standing history of reuse and renewal points to an eventual recovery of the area - will 2010 be the year that it happens?

Local and Legislative Elections
City Council Districts 4, 5, and 6 will be up for election this November. It sounds like Higgins and Somers will seek re-election, but no front runner has been determined for District 4. In addition, the state legislative races will be heating up with new potential representation for LD 21 and a round of musical chairs in LD 19 and LD 22. The East Valley has the potential for several new faces in the legislature later this year.

As you can see, as the new decade dawns, there are several exciting opportunities that lie ahead of us. AZCentral has a slide show that explores several more as well.

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