Arizona Forward helps Rio Reimagined begin to take shape




In the 1960s, the Rio Salado wasn’t in good shape. It was largely barren and folks thought the river was dead.

With eyes set on creating a point of pride in the Valley, Arizona State University Dean James Elmore and his students devised a plan to reimagine the Rio Salado, creating an oasis across the Valley’s desert.

The plan, dubbed the Rio Salado Project, needed a Herculean effort that would require buy-in from multiple municipalities, the state and federal governments and the myriad of communities that make of the fabric of the Valley of the Sun. The creation of Tempe Town Lake is the only portion of that grand plan that has come to fruition. So far.

Now, most of the Rio Salado still appears to be dead. It’s dusty and few realize they’re even passing over or past a river when crossing the barren land. But with ASU once again taking point after the prompting of the late Sen. John McCain, the Rio Salado could be reimagined once again — changing the face of the Valley and Arizona in the process.


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November 2018