Phoenix committee aims to keep ‘waterfront’ project alive

This map shows the 86-acre property northeast of 67th Avenue and Roeser Road the city of Phoenix plans to sell to the Arizona Department of Transportation for a new freeway through the Southwest Valley. After ADOT uses the land it needs for the freeway, it will sell the remaining land for commercial use. [Courtesy Maricopa County Assessor]

By Mark Carlisle | YourValley

A Phoenix committee is keeping hope alive of a waterfront commercial hub in southwest Phoenix, one akin to Tempe Town Lake.

The 86-acre property, northeast of 67th Avenue and Roeser Road, is just north of the dry Salt River riverbed, but ambitious, long-term project spearheaded by Sen. John McCain shortly before his death in 2018 aims to bring back water to a 45-mile stretch of the Salt River that has been dry for more than a century.

Estrella Village Planning Committee Member Lisa Perez said she lives walking distance from the property and participated in “Rio Reimagined” community meetings years ago to envision a future for the large city-owned property.

“Almost everybody looked at it as a Tempe Town Lake,” Perez said during week’s committee meeting. “Let’s do rentals. Let’s do an amphitheater. Let’s do concerts and whatever. This would be a West Valley destination along this river.”

Regardless of whether water returns to this stretch of the Salt River, the vision of a Tempe Town Lake in the southwest Valley will not be fully realized after plans for a new southwest Valley freeway will bisect the property.

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