when phoenix mayor Phil Gordon says "investing" its just a nice way of saying phoenix has stolen $9 billion from its citizens in the last two years and wants to steal a few billion dollars more from the citizens of phoenix over the next few years to invest in the downtown rathole.


Gordon to stress investing in city

Monica Alonzo-Dunsmoor The Arizona Republic Feb. 14, 2006 12:00 AM

Phoenix is blossoming as the result a $9 billion run of investments in the past two years, from hotels and light rail to a booming bioscience industry and the first phase of an Arizona State University downtown campus expected to open this fall.

Another nearly $1 billion investment hinges on whether voters approve the seven propositions on the March 14 bond election ballot.

Mayor Phil Gordon said he believes that investment is vital to the city's future so he will make it the central message in today's State of the City speech.

"We're at a moment in our history where people are believing, but they need to see one more thing," Gordon said. "And they're all looking at the bond . . . to see if we're going forward. That's going to trigger the city's next quantum leap into the future."

The $878.5 million bond program contains projects and proposals that touch every corner of the city, including storm sewers and road improvements, police and fire stations and parks.

"It's about promoting Phoenix business and the growth happening in downtown," said Katie Campana, director of community relations for the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce.

"I know that the priorities of the mayor's office and the chamber are to attract new businesses and making it as positive a business place as possible."

Gordon is convinced that when national and international corporate leaders see the city investing in itself, others will be moved to tap into the same economic opportunity. And with exactly one month before the bond election, city officials are hoping that voters will believe the same thing.

About $230 million in the bond program is for creating an ASU campus downtown and for related development. That campus is expected to generate a vibrant atmosphere in a part of the city that doesn't see much after-hours pedestrian traffic, except briefly on game days and concert nights.

Some opponents of the bond campaign argue that city taxes are being used to finance a state university, but Councilman Greg Stanton, chairman of the Knowledge, Workforce and Education subcommittee, said Phoenix is banking on research and education as the foundation of the city's future.

"It's critical for the bond to pass to achieve our vision for central Phoenix and the entire city," he said.

While Gordon is expected to hammer on the importance of the bond, he also wants to tell city and community leaders: "Don't stop now."

"All this has twists and turns and it's moving so quickly," he said. "Beyond being a great place to live and raise a family, Phoenix is a great city for investment."

Some businesses have noticed.

At last year's address, Gordon proposed creating an opportunity corridor, a swath of mostly vacant land, about 15 square miles, that stretches from roughly the state Capitol at 19th Avenue, east to Scottsdale Road in Tempe, and from Van Buren Street on the north to Rio Salado on the south.

"Opportunity corridor has become reality corridor," he said.

About six months after Gordon first spoke about marketing that area, it attracted seven new or expanding businesses with a combined 3,700 employees. The site of a former women's prison is being converted into $200,000 homes.

Gordon doesn't plan to unveil any new initiatives today, but promises more are on the way.

The city isn't waiting until things in the pipeline are completed before looking toward new ventures.

"That is a mistake other cities have made," Gordon said.

He said new initiatives, to be unveiled during a series of upcoming Town Hall meetings, would involve north Phoenix, Laveen and east Phoenix.

"It's critical we start to bring government to the people given the size of the city," he said. "It's a good way to take the temperature of areas of the city that are removed from City Hall."

Reach the reporter at monica .alonzo-dunsmoor@arizonarepublic.com or (602) 444-2478.

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