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Joyce Clark Unfiltered

For "the rest of the story"

Disclaimer: The comments in this blog are my personal opinion and may or may not reflect an adopted position of the city of Glendale and its city council.

On Tuesday, August 15, 2017 the city council will have a full agenda. One of the items is a staff presentation on a light rail update. Here is the link to the staff report: https://destinyhosted.com/agenda_publish.cfm?id=45363&mt=aacc&get_month=8&get_year=2017&dsp=agm&seq=139&rev=0&ag=71&ln=2184&nseq=&nrev=&pseq=201&prev=0#ReturnTo2184

There are several points within the staff report that are worthy of note. In the Background section it states, “In 2001, the voters of Glendale approved a dedicated half-cent sales tax to fund a comprehensive transportation program known the Glendale Onboard! (GO) Transportation Program. Maricopa County voters also approved transportation funding the regional transportation plan in 2004. These ballot initiatives include a project and matching funds for a high-capacity transit corridor from Glendale’s eastern border at 43rd Avenue to downtown Glendale (my bold). Based on these successful elections, the city and regional transportation plans include funding to complete a high-capacity transit corridor in Glendale by 2026 (my bold).”

Sometimes one has to read between the lines a bit. A high-capacity transit corridor does not imply light rail exclusively. Among other options, it could be a beefed-up bus system. In the 2001 transportation ballot measure the exact route was never identified. Rather it identified a study area from Northern Avenue to Bethany Home Road. If a light rail route were to run along Northern Avenue or Bethany Home Road neither route would touch downtown Glendale. Any route does not necessarily have to go through or accommodate downtown Glendale. Lastly, there was no ‘drop-dead’ date for completion of this corridor identified in the 2001 ballot issue. Light rail is not an issue that must be decided immediately.

The Background section goes on to say, “…the ongoing maintenance and operations is a local (city) cost. Glendale’s GO! Program and $105 million programmed for capital costs (construction and design) and $3.8 million programmed for ongoing operation and maintenance in the 25-year balanced program.”

On page 4 of the staff report is a table that estimates Glendale’s share of construction cost for light rail. The least expensive which ends at 43rd Avenue and Glendale ( 1 mile) projects Glendale’s share of construction costs at $30 million and the most expensive ending at 61st Avenue and Glenn Drive (crosses over Grand Avenue and is 3.5 miles) is $123 million. Based upon the stated $105 million available for Glendale’s share of construction costs funds are available for all options with the exception of the last and most expensive option – crossing Grand Avenue.

However, Glendale’s operating costs are considerable. According to the staff report, there is $3.8 million available in GO’s 25-year programming.  The least expensive and shortest distance option would require $1.6 million a year. That $3.8 million would be expended in 2 years. The most expensive option and longest distance would require $5.7 million a year to operate. Obviously the $3.8 million GO programmed funds would not even cover one year.

Where would a shortfall in annual operating costs have to come from? It would have to come from the General Fund…you know the same fund that issues debt for the city’s Capital Improvement Program (CIP) for such things as parks and libraries. It could require competing against Public Safety (police and fire) or employee raises or any other departments for funding resulting in fewer dollars for other departments. The central question for residents may be, do you want to take precious resources away from other departments and capital projects to annually fund the O&M costs of light rail?

Under the Community Benefit/Public Involvement section it states, “In addition to improved mobility and access, high capacity transit projects can also serve as a catalyst for economic redevelopment along a corridor. The original regional 20-mile light rail “starter segment” cost $1.4 billion to completer, but has generated an estimated $8.2 billion in private and public investment along the light rail corridor.” That’s about an 8 to 1 Return on Investment (ROI). Okay, that sounds great but it should be proven by providing specific, verifiable data. How much was the public (governmental) investment after light rail was completed along with a list of specific redevelopment projects and their investment cost? How much was private redevelopment and what were their projects and investment cost after light rail completion? These ROI figures cannot just be thrown out there without some kind of corroborating data. To date none has ever been provided.

Lastly, on page 3 of the staff report under Cash Flow Requirements, it says, “With the relatively short time frame until Prop 400 funding program expires in 2025, it is not fiscally sound to issue bonds, but will rely on existing fund balances and local funding to cover these upfront costs (design, right-of-way acquisition and construction). Glendale staff has told us that funding these upfront costs will negatively impact the GO program prior to construction.” In addition to the lack of long-term GO funding to support  O&M costs, staff has determined that there is not enough GO funding available to pay the upfront costs of construction. This is reminiscent of Camelback Ranch and AZSTA’s lack of ability to reimburse Glendale for those upfront costs. “Those who do not study history are doomed to repeat it.” Do we really want to go there again?

I have always wondered why Camelback Road has never been considered the option of choice. Phoenix would be required to build from 19th Avenue to 43rd Avenue, a distance of 3 miles. From 43rd Avenue to 91st Avenue, a distance of 6 miles Phoenix and Glendale would share the costs; and from Camelback Road to Glendale Avenue, a distance of 2 miles Glendale would be required to fund construction exclusively. But think about it. This route would accommodate 2 major destinations: Grand Canyon University and Westgate. That is exactly what light rail is designed to do — move large numbers of people to specific and major destination locations. In addition, it would run through 2 of the poorest demographic areas in the entire region: Maryvale and south Glendale and serve those whose need for mass transit is the greatest. If it really does spur economic redevelopment these two areas could certainly benefit from that kind of economic boost.

If you wish to follow the light-rail discussion on Tuesday, August 15th, at city council workshop which begins at 1:30 PM and is the last item on the agenda, please go to the city website, www.glendaleaz.com and click on the link to Glendale Channel 11 TV. It is broadcast live on the city’s site and also on Cox TV Cable Channel 11.

© Joyce Clark, 2017               

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such material. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Disclaimer: The comments in this blog are my personal opinion and may or may not reflect an adopted position of the city of Glendale and its city council.

On Monday, August 7, 2017 the City of Glendale’s city council meeting agenda for Tuesday, August 8, 2017 was amended and reposted within the appropriate time constraints. The item added to the agenda is the city council’s consideration and approval or denial of the city’s sale of 13.1 acres located on the north side of Bethany Home Road and on the east side of 99th Avenue to Topgolf. The land is directly north of American Furniture Warehouse. The purchase price is $5,713,730 that will go back into the city’s Water and Sewer Enterprise fund. The land was originally purchased by the city’s Enterprise fund for a water treatment plant but became unnecessary when the city built the Oasis Water Treatment Plant on Northern Avenue and approximately 72nd Avenue. Currently Topgolf has two locations in the Valley — in Scottsdale and in Gilbert.

The major investors in Topgolf are WestRiver Group, Callaway, Dundon and Providence Equity. Worldwide they have 33 venues with over 10 million visitors a year.

What is Topgolf, you say? It’s the hottest form of golf as an entertainment venue for all. Every Topgolf facility has dozens of high-tech, hitting bays. One to six people rent a bay by the hour and there are free clubs for use in each bay. The average bay rental is two hours. They also offer a full service restaurant and bars with unique menu items that can be found nowhere else in the Valley.  There are private event spaces and meeting rooms along with a rooftop terrace with a fire pit.  Customers can find original content shows, simulator lounges, competitive tours and pop-up social activities. There are HDTVs all over the place as well as everyone’s ‘must-have,’ free Wifi.

You don’t have to be a traditional golfer to enjoy their activites. Nearly 40% of their patrons are non-golfers. Two thirds of patrons are male and one third is female. The largest age group using the facility is people between the ages of 18 and 34 (53%).

If you would like to learn more about Topgolf please visit this link: https://topgolf.com/us/ . I couldn’t be more pleased. If the sale of land to Topgolf is approved by city council the city will have made its first move to extend its entertainment district beyond the Loop 101 and signals development of the west side of the Loop 101 for further entertainment venues. It’s a logical progression that moves entertainment to eventually join with the city’s MLB spring training facility, Camelback Ranch. It also can become a catalyst for further commercial development between Westgate and Camelback Ranch. The west side of the Loop 101 has suddenly become a hot location for more development. Look for more to come in this area.

This is yet another concrete example of Glendale, and especially the Yucca district, as a premier location for development. Glendale is on the move…and more is to come. As the Yucca district city councilmember with what I hope will be a vote of approval, I welcome Topgolf and wish it much success as the only venue of its kind in the West Valley.

© Joyce Clark, 2017               

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such material. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Disclaimer: The comments in this blog are my personal opinion and may or may not reflect an adopted position of the city of Glendale and its city council.

After years of negative media stories about Glendale’s finances, nowadays there is nothing but good news as Glendale has regained its economic development “mojo.” Glendale is back in the game.

All of the new development that is occurring is market driven, because the city has not provided tax breaks or other incentives to the companies. Most of the development is on the city’s west side (the district I represent, the Yucca district) and surrounds the Loop 101, or is either in Westgate or directly west and north of that area. Because this area provides easy access to the Loop 101, other high-end development and Luke Air Force Base, this area has become the first place commercial developers look.  Transportation access makes it easy for employees to come to or to leave the area. Business decision-makers are choosing to develop near similar existing or planned developments. It’s a matter of synergy. Success in economic development breeds more success.

Glendale’s success is dispelling the myth that there’s no talent, especially technological talent, on the Valley’s west side.  Glendale is proof that it’s just the opposite. You can find a ton of people that are just brilliant on this side of the Valley and are anxious to work for a technology company.

A sampling of the development now occurring is clustered in four industries: manufacturing, medical technology, advanced business services, and signature retail and entertainment: 

  • Aloft Hotel will be the latest addition to the Westgate area with a 100-rooms and four-stories. It will be located at the southwest corner of Glendale and 93rd Avenues. 
  • Construction is now complete and open for business is a Hilton-brand hotel, Home2 Suites, located in Westgate, just northwest of University of Phoenix Stadium.
  • Dutch Brothers Coffee will soon begin construction on the southeast side of Glendale Avenue and 95th Avenue.
  • Credit Union West,a Glendale-based financial-services firm, plans to begin work on a new corporate headquarters building near 99th and Glendale. It is slated for completion in late 2018.    
  • The medical influx began with St. Joseph’s Westgate Medical Center (part of the Dignity network), north of Glendale Avenue on 99th Avenue. This new hospital has 24 patient rooms and a 12 bed emergency room and plenty of room for future expansion.
  • It has been followed by a new Dignity Emergency facility located at the northwest corner of 83rd Avenue and Camelback Road.
  • Now, 101 West Healthcare is developing a $30 million, 200,000-square-foot medical campus south of St. Joseph’s Westgate Medical Center on the northwest corner of 99th and Glendale Avenue. Plans call for physicians’ offices, surgery centers, laboratories, a long-term care facility and related spaces.

Elsewhere in Glendale businesses are expanding or relocating. They include but are not limited to:

  • Conair Corporation has just opened the second largest industrial facility (second to Intel) at the Glendale Airpark. As it ramps up it will employ 750.
  • MobileLogix expects to have 24 employees at its 6,200-square-foot facility at 5150 W. Phelps Drive this year, and double that next year.
  • Canyon State Bus Sales relocated from Phoenix to 5600 W. Claremont St., in Glendale, in February. The company sells, maintains and repairs school buses and specialized vehicles, such as hotel shuttle buses and prison buses.
  • The Iron Factory, a golf club iron refinisher, is moving from Grand Junction, Colo., to 7615 N. 75th Ave., in Glendale. The operation opened in July. It opened in 1974 and has since repaired, rebuilt and refinished more than 1 million clubs for professional and amateur golfers.

Combined, these new companies (plus others not included in this article) represent approximately 1,000 immediate jobs and 3,000 jobs at build-out.

There is more news coming but until these new locates are ready to announce, I am not at liberty to share them. Glendale is by no means done and has vast tracts of land in Western Glendale, the Yucca district, that can be annexed into the city as it continues to partner with the economic development community. In fact, Glendale is just getting started…

© Joyce Clark, 2017               

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such material. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

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