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It has been 18 years and 174 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library. Recently the Arizona Republic had a story about cities and their park rankings. Here is the link:http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/phoenix/2016/06/03/report-phoenix-area-cities-lag-park-funding-access/84931948/ . Glendale ranked in the middle of the pack nationally at number 55. It was disappointing to read that Glendale spends the least on their park system at $39 per resident. The national median was $82 per resident. Glendale spends less than half the national median. This is a truly unacceptable statistic. Scottsdale spends the most in the state at $115 per capita and even Phoenix spends $88 per resident.
The leadership of Glendale, city council and senior management, want Glendale to grow. An admirable goal to be sure but how does a city attract new growth? Two components are essential. One is first class amenities such as parks and plenty of them. Residents want clean, safe parks close to their neighborhoods as do employees of prospective employers deciding to locate in Glendale. Peoria and Surprise are well on their way to meeting this goal. Just look at Glendale’s Grant Canal Linear Park. It is heavily used daily as is Glendale’s Thunderbird Paseo Linear Park. They demonstrate just how important parks are to residents.
Glendale is woefully lagging its neighbors. We still see an unfinished Heroes Park. Two other major parks in west Glendale also remain unfinished. Forget about new parks when Glendale can’t even find the will or funds to finish what it has started. Where are the funds to reopen O’Neil Pool? Putting in a West Branch Library as a modular building is an affront to current and future residents.If Glendale is serious about growth these are issues that must be addressed.
The other component for growth is quality residential development. Glendale’s vacant parcels should not be destined for high density, single family residential. These precious, vacant parcels are an opportunity to raise the bar of residential development. When Glendale allows a Stonehaven residential development with 43% of the lots only 5,500 square feet in size, it is not raising the bar for quality development. Some make the argument that a 5,500 square foot lot with a small home can still be a quality product. Generally it has been found that this type of house product is an entry level home and those that can qualify for purchase of this product cannot afford to upgrade options offered. So you see laminate kitchen counter tops instead of granite, standard bathroom fixtures and standard flooring…no upgrades. You find small bedrooms with just enough room for a bed and not much more. Stonehaven at approximately 300 acres of prime residential development is an opportunity squandered away by Glendale.
Glendale, it’s way past time to set the bar higher. Use the residential land left to attract other than entry level home products and for goodness sakes, finish our parks and add more parks, please.
© Joyce Clark, 2016
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