Mesa development: more jobs, more road projects The Mesa Tribune | The Hometown Newspaper for the city of Mesa, AZ

Mesa development: more jobs, more road projects

February 14th, 2021 Mesa Tribune Staff
Mesa development: more jobs, more road projects

By Tom Scanlon
Tribune Managing Editor

The good news: Mesa development continues.

The bad news: Mesa development continues.

City leaders have their eyes on both the jobs and challenges new projects are bringing to Mesa.

At a recent Economic Development Board meeting, City Manager Chris Brady said the city’s economic development “is mostly based upon infrastructure and the workforce.”

While development means jobs, it is also accelerating at a pace that is “pushing us to our limits.”

The intense growth in the eastern part of the city can deflect from needed improvements elsewhere, he noted.

And, he stressed the fairness factor: “It is an important balancing act to meet the demands of developers who don’t want to spend money on infrastructure,” Brady said. “We are trying to encourage that they need to be playing a part in this too.”

This week, the Mesa City Council approved the second phase of 130 homes at Destination at Gateway East, which plans to have 700 homes when fully developed.

The 32-acre development is south of Williams Field Road and west of Meridian Road near the southeast corner of Mesa.

While dirt is turning on many projects around the city, others are still in the behind-the-scenes category.

Brady noted potential developments along East Elliot Road.

“We either have development agreements signed or are in negotiations,” he noted.

Councilman Kevin Thompson, who represents District 6 in east Mesa, told the Tribune he expects to make an announcement on a project with high-employment potential “in the next month or so.

“My vision continues to be focused on jobs,” Thompson added.

A report delivered by Economic Development Director William Jabjiniak said job creation in Mesa slumped slightly, after several years of growth:

“In terms of jobs created or retained over the last five years, we have been right on schedule and have even exceeded our goals in a few of those years. Year to date, we are a little behind schedule in terms of jobs, although we still expect to meet our goals,” Jabjiniak said.

More development, more roads

Marc Ahlstrom, an assistant city engineer, recently gave an update on several road projects that have received funding (with construction starts ranging from within the next few months to several years):

• Williams Field Road: A new road connecting Ellsworth Road and State Route 24 will also “act as a gateway to the east side of the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport property.”

• Signal Butte Road Improvements: A new 2-mile road from Williams Field Road to East Germann Road will connect to the future SR24.

• Sossaman and Baseline Intersection: A minor intersection improvement to add capacity and turn lanes.

• Ray Road Connection: A short connection to line up Ray Road east and west of Ellsworth Road.

• Broadway Road: Capacity improvements from Mesa Drive to Stapley Road in the downtown area.

• Val Vista Drive: Capacity improvements from US 60 north to Pueblo Avenue including additional lanes at intersection with Southern Avenue.

• Ellsworth Road: Joint project in partnership with the town of Queen Creek for an additional lane between Germann and SR24.

• Sossaman Road: A new road between East Ray and East Warner roads to offer connection to the Inner Loop area utilizing an existing 202 underpass.

This week, Mesa City Council approved two road-related projects, annexing 7 acres of the South 222nd Street and East Williams Field Road right-of-way and 2 acres of the South Meridian Road right-of-way.

Both are to “facilitate the development of the required roadway infrastructure improvements of the Destination at Gateway mixed-use development.”

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