Walking the Beat
South Phoenix is the land of tomorrow for developers who have visions of sugar plums big time! $85 million dollars for starters is a drop in the bucket we are told for the long range development plans for South Phoenix! The camera pans down to gravel piles and weeds to the bottom of the canal. Sluggish brackish water stands in running puddles in the middle of the canal bottom with sandy weedy widths on each side of the brown water. “This”, our City representative speaker gestures toward the dry river bottom...”This is going to be a Wetlands Preserve Park with jogging trails and trees and natural habitat. Waterfalls will be pumped up to run back down the landscaped sides of the channel and it will be beautiful.” We gaze back down at the gravel and wet splotches of dirty rivulets called the ‘river’. “Plus,”… our guide and speaker continues , “ Down stream at 81st avenue the Tress Rios Project is underway for a similar segment of “The Vision” and eventually there will be miles of corridor through central Phoenix along the river with 76,000 trees and wetland marshes where school children can come and learn about ecology. Especially poor children from South Phoenix schools who would not have the opportunity for such things.”
The camera zooms back up the embankment. Outside the frame forty students from ASUWEST marvel that a few weeks ago most if not all of us knew little or nothing about these big plans for South Phoenix.
Banks don’t loan that kind of money for projects without cold hard facts for future revenues. Those future revenues are not built on junky old businesses and buildings in what is now the existing South Phoenix.
It does’nt take a rocket scientist to know bankers look way past the PR hype about jogging trails and school kids learning ecology. Federal money, federal connections, why?