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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 Thursday, February 25, 2021, the Glendale Elementary School District (GESD) held a meeting to take comments from the public regarding its plan to close 5 elementary schools within its district boundaries. I am providing information about this meeting to keep my Yucca district residents informed. Here is the link to the video of the meeting: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ehx1KVJCOik

There is one misconception I would like to clear up. The western boundary of GESD is 83rd Avenue. Some speakers asked what would happen because of the development of Stonehaven, between 83rd and 91st Avenues, Bethany Home Road to Camelback Road. Those 1,365 homes reside in the Pendergast Elementary School District (PESD) and those children will not be attending any schools in the GESD.

One of the speakers was Martin Nowakowski, a Yucca district resident, and my appointee on the Glendale Planning Commission. He spoke from 1:38:50 to 1:43:32. He made several particularly good points that, in my opinion, deserve further exploration and answers from the GESD Board.

  • He stated that the process has been flawed. The proposal to close schools during the COVID pandemic is ill advised. The pandemic has been an impediment to allow full participation by the community and has resulted in little to no parent involvement.
  • He called for a forensic audit of GESD’s budget and contended that community perception is there is a pattern of “top heavy” spending.
  • He questioned what costs for transportation would be incurred because of a realignment of pupil attendance boundaries.
  • He said that the district uses the rationale for closures because of declining student enrollment and asked how many students are learning online.
  • He expressed concern about the possibility of increasing class sizes. He questioned will there continue to be class sizes of less than 30 students per class and if that number increases, how does it affect the quality of education for struggling students?
  • Lastly, he characterized the school board’s actions as discriminatory by focusing on closing schools in more disadvantaged neighborhoods and catering to wealthier neighborhoods by keeping those schools intact. He referred to Isaac Imes as being known as the “Mexican school.”

It appears that the community is genuinely concerned and to date has expressed nothing but opposition to the GESD proposal. Perhaps the Board would be advised to slow its proposal down until it has made a full explanation to its community as to why their actions are necessary. There may be good reasons and then again, there may not be but until the community understands why the Board has chosen this path it will be met with distrust and anger. Just think about all those parents who have no idea what is about to happen to their children…and there will be many.

© Joyce Clark, 2021       

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.

At the Tuesday, February 9, 2021 city council voting meeting Resolution R21-11 was passed by a majority of the city council. It is an agreement between the Tohono O’odham and the City of Glendale in which the city relinquishes its right to annex a parcel of land within its annexation boundaries.

I wish to explain my vote. I do not speak for the entire city council in expressing my reasoning for my vote and it should be noted that Mayor Weiers was absent due to recent surgery and did not vote on the matter.

The agreement helps to pave the way for the Tohono O’odham (TO), in the process of acquiring a parcel of land in the area of Northern Avenue and the Loop 303 freeway, to pursue building another casino, approximately ten miles to the west of the existent Desert Diamond Casino at Westgate. The property is currently owned by Saguaro Land Properties, LLC an entity of the Nation.  The next step for them is to put the land into trust.

All land within Glendale’s strip annexation borders can be annexed into Glendale, including this parcel. The TO asked that Glendale not exercise its right to annex this parcel into Glendale and a majority of the city council agreed. Glendale has the ability to annex, but not a legal right to force annexation.  Based on state statute, it would be impossible to annex them into the city, unless they agreed to do so. Here is a link to the agreement in its entirety: Contract # _ C21-0119 – TOHONO O’ODHAM NATION – Execution Date_ 2_9_2021

In the agreement the TO agrees to pay Glendale $400,000 and $1,000,000 with a 2% increase annually for 20 years:

8. Payments to the City and Other Considerations Provided by the Nation.

  1. Before the Nation Commences Gaming.  Within ten (10) days after the resolution provided in Section 4(A) of this Agreement become effective and the Memorandum of Agreement is fully executed and recorded, the Nation will make a one-time payment to the City in the amount of $400,000 to help fund the operations of the City.
  2. After the Nation Commences Gaming. Commencing in the year in which the Nation first offers Class III Gaming to the public on the Property (the ‘Base Year’) and continuing in each subsequent year for a period of twenty (20) years, the Nation will make the payments described below:
  3. Commencing in the Base Year, the Nation will make annual payments to the City to help fund its operations. The Nation will commence making payments to the City within six (6) months of the date on which the Nation first offers Class III Gaming to the public on the Property and annually thereafter within sixty (60) days of the anniversary date of the original payment made under this subsection.
  4. The Nation’s payment in the Base Year will be $1,000,000.00 in each subsequent year of this Agreement, the Nations will make a payment to the City in an amount that is two percent (2%) greater than its payment in the previous year, for the same purposes.”

In return for which the city will not only announce its support for this new casino but actively support its development:

4. Termination of the PADA; Announcement Regarding the Project; No Opposition; No Annexation; Covenant Not To Sue.

  1.   As soon as practicable following the adoption by the City of a resolution approving this Agreement, the City will adopt a resolution in the form attached hereto as Exhibit C approving and authorizing the execution on behalf of the City and recording a Memorandum of Agreement and Partial Termination of Prior Agreement releasing the Property from the PADA, in the forms attached as Exhibit 1 to such resolution, which will then be executed on behalf of the City and the Nation and recorded, at the cost and expense of the Nation, in the Official Records (the ‘Memorandum of Agreement’).
  2. Press Release. Within ten (10) days after the Effective Date, the City and the Nation will issue a joint press release, approved in substance and form by each of the Parties, stating that:
  3. The City and Nation have entered into a mutually beneficial intergovernmental agreement relation to the Property and the Project;
  4. The City supports the United States’ acquisition of the entirety of the Property in trust for the benefit of the Nation under the Lands Replacement Act;
  5. The City supports the Project (including the Nation’s proposed casino gaming operation on the Property);
  6. The City wants the Nation to construct and commence operating the Project as expeditiously as possible for the mutual benefit of the City and the Nation; and
  7. The City supports the Nation’s efforts to enter into a Compact authorizing the Nation’s Class III Gaming on the Property.
  8. No Opposition.
  9. The City will not, directly or indirectly, oppose, challenge, or appeal any decision by the Secretary of the Interior to acquire the Property in trust for the benefit of the Nation under the Lands Replacement Act, including any current or future fee to trust applications concerning the Property.
  10. If the Nation asks the National Indian Gaming Commission or the United States Department of the Interior to issue any decisions or opinions relating to whether the Property meets the requirements of 25 S.C.&2719(b)(1)(B), the City will not, directly or indirectly, oppose the request.
  11. No Annexation. The City will not, after the Effective Date, annex, or take any action to annex, all or any portion of the Property.
  12. Covenant Not To Sue. The City will not commence any future action or make any claims against the Nation or Gaming Enterprise to hinder the Nation or the Gaming Enterprise in developing the Project, except that the City may seek to enforce the terms of the Settlement Agreement and this Agreement.”

One reason to vote ‘yes’ would have been because I do not oppose the city’s agreement to not pursue annexation of this land in question. Let it remain in the county. When it is taken into Trust it becomes a reservation and part of a sovereign nation. This means the new TO casino when built will be on reservation land and not subject to local, county or tax taxation and it is not subject to local or state building codes. That is because it will be a sovereign nation and not under local, county or state jurisdiction. The issue of agreeing to not annex the land was never the issue for me. There were other reasons that compelled me to vote ‘no’ on this issue that I believe outweighed the issue of annexation or non-annexation.

I should disclaim that I have had a long history of opposition to the first casino, now a reservation, a sovereign nation, surrounded by Glendale. I will not bore you with the long history of that fight but suffice it to say, some of the actions taken by the TO appeared to some as being underhanded. Were they? That’s for you to decide but several local tribes claimed such. Here is the link to the testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives in May, 2013, of Diane Enos, President of the Salt River-Pima-Maricopa Indian Community. It does a good job of summarizing many of Arizona’s Indian tribes view of the Tohono O’odham’s actions historically: HHRG-113-II24-Wstate-EnosD-20130516

My ‘no’ vote was based upon the following questions and assumptions. My first thought was, why is the TO paying the City of Glendale when the casino will not be on city annexed land? It will remain part of the county until it is designated a reservation. With the passage of Resolution R 21-11 it will never be annexed by Glendale or be a part of Glendale. There may be several reasons:

One could be in the 1986 Gila Bend Act Congress authorized the Tohono O’odham to purchase and to become reservation up to 9,880 acres of land in Maricopa, Pima or Pinal counties. The land was supposed to replace agricultural land that had been flooded by the federal government. There was the expectation that the new land purchases would be agricultural. Under the Act, it also states the purchased land may not be within the corporate limits of any city.

Another reason may be the TO’s intense desire in securing Glendale’s full-throated support as the city agrees to publicly support the new casino. Why is this important to the TO? My guess it is to neutralize any opposition there may be from other tribes such as Gila River or Salt River-Pima-Maricopa. The TO can point out that it has the support of Glendale to move forward with this new casino.

It also secures Glendale’s support of a new Indian Gaming Compact that will go before the state’s voters in 2022 as well as ensuring Glendale’s support in its requests of the federal government to designate the land as a reservation.

Under the existent Compact the TO are allowed a total of 4 casinos. They have those now – one in Tucson, Ajo, Sahuarita, and Glendale. To construct a 5th casino will require the agreement of the signatory Tribes to the newly crafted Compact soon to be presented to the state’s voters, as well as voter approval.

That raises a question about the new Compact, as yet unveiled to the public. If the TO anticipates getting a 5th casino, does that mean all of the other signatory tribes are anticipating getting authority to plant even more casinos in the Greater Phoenix Metropolitan Area?

Yet another reason may be because the seller of the land to the TO was a member of the PADA (Pre Annexation Development Agreement) which required land owners who are party to this agreement to annex into Glendale. When the land was sold to the TO this legal proscription remained with the sale of the land.

Although it is not specifically spelled out, the agreement seems to be a “quid pro quo.” In return for certain payments to the city, the city will support the TO’s plans. It is often acknowledged that “perception is reality.” The perception of some, after reading the Agreement, may be that the Tohono O’odham bought the city council’s support. I don’t disagree.

There may be “more to this story” than the TO have shared. Perhaps they do not enjoy the support of some of the other Tribes. Perhaps if the city had decided to keep their land in the PADA it might have clouded a federal decision as to whether the land should be taken into trust for a reservation. I honestly don’t know.

Other considerations that formed my decision to vote ‘no’ were the new casino may draw customers from those traveling along the Loop 303 but I suspect it will also draw Sun City, Sun City Grand and Sun City West patrons of the current casino to patronize the new casino as it is closer to them. It may end up cannibalizing its customer base; and although the site is not within the noise contours of Luke Air Force Base, it is in close proximity to them. The TO will be constructing a casino with intense usage just outside of those noise contours.  There could be cause for concern should there ever be an aircraft accident.

In summary, it wasn’t the actual issue of agreeing that the city would not annex the land that drove my decision but rather other, less tangible considerations and perceptions. Does this mean that I cannot work with the TO on issues regarding its current casino in Glendale? No. I promised fair consideration of any request they may make and I will abide by that pledge. The Agreement just passed by city council raises questions that remain unanswered and are likely to remain unanswered. Those questions prompted my ‘no’ vote.

© Joyce Clark, 2021       

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.

One of the major reasons the 4 bond authorization questions at Glendale’s November election went down in flames was because voters feared an automatic increase in the amount of Glendale property tax they would have to pay.

To refresh your memory there were 4 bond questions.  Question 1 asked for $87.2 million for Parks and Recreation and included Heroes Park build out. Question 2 asked for $81.5 million for street construction and reconstruction primarily of arterial streets and would have included 59th, 67th and 83rd Avenues as well as reconstruction of Bell Road, Thunderbird Road and Bethany Home Road. Question 3 was under $10 million for continued expansion of the new north portion of the landfill and its debt would have been paid off by users of city sanitation services. Question 4, also under $10 million would have been to improve local drainage issues such as fixing the flooding on Glenn Drive.

At all public meetings designed to provide information on these bond questions, by state law, the city was required to provide you with the worst-case scenario. From these public meetings the following was offered to the public, “However, as part of the disclosures we are required to tell you that the amount of the proposed bond authorization combined with the outstanding debt would exceed the city’s constitutional debt limit. But as we’ve said, once before, the city’s paying off some debt which will keep the amount of outstanding bonds below either limit (6% or 20%) and no bonds can or will be issued that would exceed the city’s constitutional debt limit.” (Assistant City Manager Vicki Rios, October 2020 public bond meeting)

However, what was little known or unclear to the voters was Resolution NO. R20-137 approved by the city council on October 13, 2020. Over the years, the informal council policy had been to maintain a flat (no increase) levy for property taxes. The city’s debt capacity could only increase by the value of new properties added to the city’s tax rolls each year, but it had never been formally adopted.

With the adoption of this resolution this policy became formal and states in part, “The City Council will not authorize the issuance of new G.O. bonds if the levy amount required to pay the debt service on existing G.O. bonds plus the new G.O. bonds exceeds the amount of the current year’s tax levy plus an amount of up to 2% per year for new growth (i.e. new property added to the tax rolls).”

With the formal adoption of this long-standing city council policy by resolution, the state disclosure requiring the city to tell you what the worst-case scenario could be is based upon the assumption that there would be an increase in the property tax levy. This disclosure is required but becomes irrelevant and is a moot point with the adoption of Resolution R20-137.

I am disappointed, obviously, that these 4 bond authorization questions did not gain voter approval. The items presented to voters were the result of the hard and extensive work done by a citizen bond committee. These were items that citizens who studied the issue felt were necessary to move our city forward. City council did not create these recommendations and after listening to their recommendations, approved them.

With the failure of all 4 bond authorization questions, projects that would have been funded will be scaled back, eliminated altogether or delayed for many years. The decisions regarding the projects will be considered by the city council when it takes up budget discussions this spring.

As the Yucca district councilmember, I want Yucca constituents to be aware that some of these bond authorizations are personally important to you. The Parks and Recreation bond authorization question, if it had passed, would have authorized the amount of $47 million to finally complete Heroes Park. This park has been in the city’s Capital Improvement Program (CIP) since 1998, a period of 23 years. It would have included sports fields, a Recreation & Aquatics Center (like the one in north Glendale), a dog park and library expansion. (Please note Heroes Park Lake begins construction this March/April and is scheduled for completion at the end of 2021).

With a doubling of the population in the Yucca district since the last census in 2010, amenities such as the completion of Heroes Park and reconstruction of Bethany Home Road are no longer luxuries but necessities. As more and more people move into this district the need for these amenities becomes greater and greater and the lack of them puts our district at a disadvantage with other districts in the city as well as with neighboring cities such as Peoria and Avondale.

Another infrastructure issue that would have been fixed included in the Streets Bond Authorization was Bethany Home Road between Glendale Avenue and Northern Avenue. It is a mess and frankly, embarrassing. Now I do not know when it will be reconstructed.

I would hope that the city would again present these items to the voters, perhaps at our next election in 2022. I would hope that the next time it is made clear that your property taxes will not go up and a more complete explanation of the projects to be funded would be offered.

© Joyce Clark, 2021       

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.

The year 2020 has been memorable and one we hope never repeats itself in terms of the Covid pandemic. As we move into 2021, I, as I am sure many others, await our opportunity to get the vaccine. We all assume that getting vaccinated will allow us to resume a more normal lifestyle.

Despite Covid Glendale has seen some remarkable events this year.

While considering the objections of adjacent residents, the City Council decided to close Glen Lakes Golf Course and to sell the land for a residential development. That action has taken place and we should see construction activity on the site in 2021.

The area surrounding the Loop 303 erupted with activity. Major developers snapped up land along the Loop 303 as fast as they could for industrial/manufacturing/commercial development resulting in several million square feet of space now under construction. This activity will generate over $10 million in construction sales tax for Glendale. One extremely contentious project, a Love’s Travel Stop, eventually disappeared. Council’s intent directed by policy creation was and is to develop the area for commercial development and to discourage residential development in the area. To date the city has been successful except for two residential parcels, county approved prior to their annexation into Glendale.

Zanjero and Westgate continue to add new developments to their sites. New multifamily complexes are springing up in those areas designed to provide a mass of residents that will support those areas for many years to come. Perhaps the most significant project that will put Glendale on the map as a major destination location is the Crystal Lagoon, Glendale located at the southwest corner of 95th Avenue and Cardinals Way. It is, in essence, a mini-Disneyland with a large lagoon available for public recreational use along with 3 hotels, a bevy of retail and entertainment experiences including a 150-foot-tall Aero Bar and a 400-foot tall, tethered balloon designed for public viewing of the entire Valley. This experiential retail will be open prior to the Super Bowl scheduled to be hosted by Glendale in 2023. Just as importantly, it will generate nearly $10 million annually in new revenue for the city. That money can and I hope, will be used to complete unfinished amenities and establish new ones for our Glendale residents.

Another major significant project was the completion of Ballpark Boulevard establishing a permanent connection between our White Sox and Dodgers spring training facility and the Westgate/Zanjero areas. There is several hundred acres of developable land along Ballpark Boulevard and I expect to see additional development on that land prior to the Super Bowl. Glendale is booming with new development and we can expect to see it continue through 2021 and 2022.

A major disappointment was voter disapproval of bond authorization in 4 areas: streets; parks and recreation; landfill and local drainage. We did a poor job of explaining these needs to our residents and failed to assure them that approval of authorization would not raise property taxes. I would expect the city to take another run at it in a few years and do a better job of explaining how important these needs are to our residents.

For example, I receive complaints about the condition of 83rd Avenue between Glendale Avenue and Northern Avenue daily. It was one of the reconstruction projects scheduled if the streets bond authorization had passed. With the failure of the bond authorization, city council will have to decide how and when 83rd Avenue will be remediated during its next budget process discussions scheduled for the spring of 2021.

On another note, I dip into an app called NextDoor periodically. Topics that are often repeated are complaints about fireworks, alerts to all about suspicious persons in a neighborhood and car break-ins. In all these instances, while it is nice to let your neighbors know about these events, it would be better still if each person picked up the phone and called the Glendale Police Department. The department lives by statistics. Every time a call is made it adds to the statistics for a geographic area. The department uses these statistics to determine where to deploy officers. The more statistics (calls) in a certain area the more likely officers will be patrolling and available to respond in a timely fashion to a call for service. Publicly aired complaints are fine but result in a lot of “sound and fury signifying nothing.” Please call the Glendale Police Department and make a report. Do not expect your neighbors to do it. Assume they have not and make that call.

The state has pre-empted cities’ ability to regulate fireworks and extraordinarily little authority is available to cities. If you want the fireworks to stop you are going to have to reach out to residents of other Valley cities and work together to let the state legislature know you have had enough.

In Glendale there are only two periods a year when fireworks may be used: June 24th to July 6th and December 24th to January 3rd. Any other time of year they are illegal. Fireworks that are shot into the air are always illegal. Glendale has increased the fine for illegal fireworks to $1500. Fireworks may not be used between midnight and 6 AM during the two permitted periods.

There is probably more that I could relate about Glendale and events of the past year but the ones I highlighted are the ones that have the most significance for me. I am proud of Glendale and especially the Yucca district which I represent. There is so much good news.

One comment that has always remained with me is a comment the renowned economist, Elliot Pollack, made years ago. He said that Glendale will become the geographical center of the entire Valley. It was prescient and extremely accurate. Glendale is becoming the center of the Valley, in more ways than one. In terms of population, Glendale is the 6th largest city in the state, but our focus is not on population growth but rather economic development and job creation. Our focus on economic development will reverse the current situation where 70% of our residents leave Glendale for employment. As we add more and more jobs and as we develop Class A office space, we will reverse that statistic and in the future Glendale’s residents will truly be able to live, work and play IN Glendale.

© Joyce Clark, 2019         

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.

Ever since I began serving again on city council in 2012, I have been hosting a half hour video called “Beyond the Headlines.” Each councilmember has a half hour video and has named their segment as they chose. I chose “Beyond the headlines” because I wanted to take a deeper dive into specific Glendale announcements.

My latest video can be viewed on Cox cable Channel 11 TV and you can also go to the city of Glendale website and navigate to the latest offerings on Channel 11 and view them online at the city site if you do not have access.

I am especially pleased and proud of my latest video. Yucca residents know that development has exploded in our district. They see the new subdivisions as they travel on our district streets. They can see the construction taking place at Westgate and now Zanjero but they may not be as familiar with all of the development occurring around the Loop 303.

I thought it would be a good idea to put all of Yucca’s development into one half hour video. In order to see all that is happening for the very first time the media production team used a drone video.

I think this is the best video the media team has ever produced. Since you may not have access to view it I am sharing with you now:  https://vimeo.com/475688261/f6a548d471 . I am very proud of Glendale and the Yucca district and quite frankly, I wanted to show everyone just how great our district is. Not only is there room for even more residential development but the opportunities for commercial/industrial/retail in the Loop 303 area are incredible.

In addition to the tremendous amount of development in the Loop 303 area, now estimated at about 10 million square feet already approved, the announcement of Crystal Islands Lagoon Resort Glendale delivers an impact that will be felt throughout the Southwestern United States. It complements our professional sports venues for the Arizona Cardinals, the Phoenix Coyotes, the White Sox and the Dodgers by bringing a major entertainment themed resort to Arizona.

So, when you have a moment, sit back with a cup of coffee and catch up on what’s happening in the Yucca district in Glendale. I hope you enjoy the bird’s eye view!

© Joyce Clark, 2020         

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.

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.

As you may, or may not be aware, I have been working hard to make Heroes Park Lake a reality. I am pleased to share this first rendering of Heroes Park Lake to be located on the east side of 83rd Avenue just north of Bethany Home Road at Heroes Regional Park. This rendering shows the position and size of the lake (approximately 5 acres) but it does not show ‘the bells and whistles’ that will be incorporated. Since it will be a fishing lake there will be a few fishing piers, a 20’ foot fountain, several shade structures, benches and the planting of larger trees (none of which is depicted in this rendering).

I am so excited and pleased to be able to finally announce that this lake is definitely coming to the park and soon. There are a lot of moving parts that complicated this project including coordination with Salt River Project. Final details on the amenities are still to be determined and finalized. The latest schedule is that work will begin in the first quarter of this coming year, around this coming March or April.

 I thank all city personnel that will make this project a reality. If I omit some names, please accept my apology. Thanks to City Manager Kevin Phelps, Assistant City Mangers Jack Friedline (technical) and Vicki Rios (financing), Don Bessler, Special Projects Engineering and Trevor Ebersole, Director of Transportation and Streets (includes engineering). Many more were involved. My thanks also goes to the entire City Council. Without their approval this project would never have occurred. I appreciate their recognition of and commitment to fulfilling the city’s promise to complete Heroes Park. My thanks to every Yucca district resident for your patience. You have had to wait over 20 years to see this park completed. I believe the lake is just the beginning of the road to placing all elements within this park.

© Joyce Clark, 2020         

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.

I first began this blog in the spring of 2013. Since its inception I have written 860 posts centered on issues related to Glendale, from ‘hot button’ topics like the current Glen Lakes issue to past issues including chickens! I have received nearly 3,000 reader comments. My subscribers span the globe from Zimbabwe to China to Kuwait.

I want to thank all of my subscribers for following me these many years! It makes the effort worthwhile. I intend to continue to offer my perspective on Glendale issues until I can no longer see or write. Sometimes you may agree with my take and sometimes I am sure I have angered others. That’s great because it highlights an issue, makes the reader think and hopefully offers a forum to weigh in with your opinion on the topic.

Again, thank you…

Number of reads as of October 24, 2020

© Joyce Clark, 2020         

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.

Our pond was built in 2011 and filled with water for the very first time in March of that year. It’s hard to believe it’s nearly 10 years old. Over the years I have written about the ups and downs of creating a Koi fish friendly pond.

Today we have about 30 Koi. It’s hard to know exactly how many because if you’ve ever tried to count fish, you would understand. We have a mix of standard Koi and Butterfly Koi and a herd of little fish called Gambusia (mosquito fish). The Gambusia multiplies like rabbits. We began by throwing in about a dozen given to us by our neighbor and today who know how many? At least a hundred.

It’s a beautiful, end-of-September day in Arizona and so I took a few photos as the pond looks roday.

It’s time to trim the landscaping plants surrounding the pond once again and I’ve discovered a patch of grass in the pond island area that will have to be removed. Basically, the pond has become a rather simple and calming addition to our backyard requiring minimal maintenance.

Our external filter system with a UV light is cleaned once a year. At that time all of the filter media is removed and replaced with clean, fresh media. Every evening, the two main filter pump filters are cleaned. There is a plastic grate at the intake that stops large items like dead lily pad leaves. Then there is a a square net that collects smaller material and finally, there is a green filter mat that collects small material. It probably takes 15 minutes to remove, wash with a hose and replace.

The fish get fed once a day, consistently around 5:30 in the evening. I bring my bowl of Koi food out and call out “dinner” and they all covey up to the feeding spot. It seems to trigger their appetites because after eating the Koi pellets they will spend several hours grazing on any algae on the rocks in the pond. As the weather gets cooler, I will reduce the amount of the daily feeding and in the winter they will get half the amount they receive now.

As the mornings and evenings cool down we are more likely to sit around the pond and watch the fish do their thing.

© Joyce Clark, 2020         

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.

No project as large in scope as this one is simple or easy to create. This project is wide-ranging and complex reflected by the fact that it has taken over a year to put all of the pieces in place. There are 5 different agreements:

  • Development Agreement with ECL Glendale, LLC. (approved by city council on Sept. 8)
  • Government Property Improvement Leases with ECL Glendale, LLC. (approved by city council on Sept. 8)
  • Purchase and Sale Agreement with ERD Glendale, LLC. to purchase approximately .2942 acres of city-owned land (scheduled to come before city council on Sept. 22)
  • Option Agreement to purchase real estate with ERD Glendale, LLC to purchase approximately 4.154 acres of city-owned land (scheduled to come before city council on Sept. 22)
  • Parking Agreement(s) (scheduled to come before city council on Sept. 22)

The Development Agreement acknowledges that this project qualified as a business expansion economic development project. The term of this agreement is 25 years. The agreement spells out the terms of a 25 year “partial” Government Property Lease Excise Tax (GPLET). Under Arizona Revised Statutes (A.R.S. 42-6208) a GPLET may be applied only to amusements and their related retail and restaurant concessions. It allows for a 25 year partial exemption of lease excise tax for recreation and entertainment uses. Once the project has completed all construction (October, 2022) the company sells the project to the city for a token amount. The city becomes the lessor (owner and landlord) exempting ECL from paying property tax.  ECL becomes the prime lessee (renter) paying the city a token annual rental payment and pays annual lease excise tax instead of property tax. After 25 years the GPLET terminates and cannot be renewed. At that time the project reverts back to ECL, becomes private property and pays property tax rather than a lease tax.

The Government Property Improvement Lease further refines the terms of the 25 year partial GPLET. The terms remain as represented above but they are spelled out in excruciating legal detail. It’s a 50 page document (yes, I read it all) that only an attorney would love. It even covers what happens if there is “an act of God” that destroys the project.  It’s a very detailed, boring, yet important document.

The company is obligated to operate and maintain the project for at least 25 years continuously. The company agrees to completion of construction of the entire project on or before October 31, 2022. The city recognizes the right of the company to develop, construct and use the property under its current Planned Area Development (PAD) zoning. The city will provide expedited plan review. The city will provide a Fee Waiver in the amount of $1M in permit, plan review and inspection fees but this waiver does not include Development Impact Fees (DIF) which is estimated to be a one time payment of $4.4M.

Purchase Sale Agreement for 0.29 acres allows ECL to purchase for $10 a square foot, totaling $126,000. This small sliver of city-owned land is situated on the southwest corner of Montebello Avenue and 95th Avenue. It enhances access to the project site.

Option for Purchase Sale Agreement for 4.15 acres allows ECL to purchase for $10 a square foot, totaling $1.8 M. This land would be used for water retention, employee parking and maintenance operations for the project.

Parking Agreement(s) provide for the project’s overflow parking needs at the city-owned Black lot on all days but football game days and mega events at the stadium (attendance must be 40,000 minimum). ECL will maintain the black lot and pay for all associated utilities. This agreement will also be approved by the Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority (AZSTA) and the Cardinals. Additional agreements between the Bidwill family and ECL may provide alternate parking should the city decide to develop the Black Parking lot. Obviously, with this project and others within Westgate and Zanjero, at some point the Black Lot parking land becomes so valuable for development that its use as a parking lot no longer makes financial sense.

The Return on Our Investment (ROI) is substantial. Keep in mind the city always uses conservative figures and I think it is fair to assume the numbers provided could be higher. Over 25 years the county earns $60.4M or $2.4M a year; the schools earn $90.6M or $3.6M a year; and the state receives $309.3M or $12.3M a year. What does the city earn? Over 25 years $240.5M or $9.6M a year. During construction of the project the city earns construction sales tax of $5.9M; $1.8M for the sale of remnant land parcels; and DIF fees of $4.4M. I personally think the annual revenues will be higher, especially during and after the Super Bowl in 2023. This resort project is sure to be heavily promoted during the Super Bowl generating a ton of viewer interest and a spike in tourist visits to Glendale.

All of these revenues are generated because the city, in order to attract this project, was willing to forego $1M in fee waivers, agree to accept excise lease tax rather than property tax and already had an abundance of available overflow parking constructed. In return for which, the city will generate almost $10M a year in new revenue. The city did not have to pay a dime to entice the project. The city does not write a check as an incentive to the developer for anything. I think that it is a win-win for Glendale and ECL. That’s why it won my immediate and enthusiastic support from the time I first learned of the project.

There are cities across this country that will never have this kind of opportunity but Glendale has spent the past several years positioning itself to attract just such a project.  As I said in my last blog there are intangible benefits as well. This experiential retail, entertainment concept is a brand new concept and will be the very first anywhere in the world. It will claim the attention of both the retail and entertainment industries and provides a blueprint for marrying the two concepts together. Glendale was on the map as a host city for the Super Bowl and the Final Four but this project moves Glendale to a new level of prominence.

I thank ECL for choosing Glendale as its partner and for hanging in there for over a year to execute tedious, legal, governmental documents that can be frustrating at times. It’s a challenge for all concerned to bring a project such as this to reality. Kudos to Glendale and ECL for making it happen. I am very proud to welcome them as the newest member of our Glendale family and the Yucca district.

© Joyce Clark, 2020         

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.

This is a blog I have been dying to write for the past year. I simply couldn’t wait to announce this project until tomorrow. So, I will write for a couple of hours and post it in the wee hours of tonight. In this first blog I will give you the big picture regarding the project and in my next blog I will go into detail for those of you who may be nerdy like me.

A year ago our City Manager shared with me that there was a possibility that a Crystal Lagoon project could be coming to Glendale and specifically to my district, the Yucca district at the southwest corner of Cardinals Way and 95th Avenue. I had no idea what the concept was so the first order of business for me was to do my research. What I learned made me anxiously hopeful that Glendale could land such a project. I was excited about the prospect and periodically asked our City Manager Kevin Phelps about the success of the negotiations always ending with, “Can I announce it yet?” For months the response was always, “Not yet.”

The concept was born with Fernando Fischmann, a trained biochemist and a real estate developer. His first project was in San Alfonso del Mar, Chile. The obstacles in the creation of a large lagoon as an amenity to his real estate development project were immense and frankly, solutions were non-existent.  At the time there was no cost effective technology available that could be utilized to maintain a large body of water.

He did what any other genius entrepreneur would do. He did the research himself by setting up his own laboratory to invent the technology needed for his project. He successfully patented his newly created technology allowing him to build major residential/lagoon projects worldwide. Today there are at least a 100 Crystal Lagoons throughout the world — in every South American country; southern European countries like Spain and Greece; the Middle East from Egypt to Jordan; Canada and dozens of lagoons in the United States. The list of projects is extensive.

But it was time to apply the concept to not just residential projects but to a commercial/retail/office/hotel concept.

One of the first such projects will be in Glendale. The developer is ECL Glendale, LLC.  The project site is 48+ acres and will host 9 complimentary components:

  • an 11 acre lagoon style water park planned to include scuba diving, windsurfing and water jet packs
  • 175,000 square feet of retail space
  • 130,000 square feet of office space
  • 3 hotels offering a total of 630 hotel rooms
  • amusement rides
  • family entertainment center
  • fly and 4D theaters
  • restaurants and bars
  • a performing arts and film venue space

There will also be the first ever “aero bar,” a 135 foot elevated bar in the middle of the lagoon with a 360-degree view. It also will include the world’s largest helium balloon. The balloon will be on a tether with a gondola that raises riders 400 feet in the air offering a bird’s eye view of the entire Valley. Some of the newest elements have yet to be announced and you will learn of them in the coming months.

ECL Glendale, LLC. plans to begin construction this year, probably late Fall with a target completion date of October of 2022. That gives them a few months of operation to work all the bugs out before the Super Bowl comes back to Glendale in 2023. It’s an ambitious schedule but as all elements will be constructed simultaneously, it is doable.

So, how much will this plethora of entertainment cost the visitor? I understand that an All Day Pass will be $20 per person. That seems to be a competitive price compared to other water venues in the Valley.

Why am I so excited about the project? It’s a one-of-a-kind attraction for not just the State of Arizona but for the entire Southwestern United States. But even more importantly, it forever ensures that Glendale is the premier sports and entertainment destination in all of Arizona. Now, all we need is basketball and soccer to capture the entire sports market. Maybe if the Coyotes Hockey team actually leaves Glendale as they have threatened to do for several years we could repurpose the arena for basketball? Or perhaps the property owners of the “Vision 4” properties on the west side of the Loop 101 might try to lure additional sports venues such as basketball and soccer to their site? Who knows?

This soon-to-be resort site compliments and adds to all of the existing and soon-to-be constructed development in the Westgate and Zanjero areas. It causes Glendale to become a year round tourist destination, similar to Disneyland or Disneyworld. It also increases Glendale’s viability as a host city for mega events such as the Final Four. Lastly, it will generate slightly less than $10 million a year in new revenue for the city and will create an estimated 1,800 jobs.

This was a difficult and complex project to bring to reality. It has a lot of moving parts and I will get into those moving parts in my next blog.

I don’t believe anyone else, other than our City Manager, Kevin Phelps, could have successfully concluded this project. He is a master at development and exactly what Glendale needs to become eminently successful in a highly competitive market as cities out bid and jostle one another to land mega projects. Mr. Phelps has also put together an outstanding team of senior management responsible for the success of this project. It includes Brian Friedman, Director of Economic Development; Lisa Collins, Planning Administrator; Vicki Rios and Jack Friedline, Assistant City Managers; and Craig Johnson, Director of Utilities. If I omitted anyone please accept my apology. Michael Bidwill, representing the Bidwill family, also contributed to the project’s success by working with ECL Glendale, LLC. to craft a parking agreement.

I don’t think I can express the momentous effect this project will have not just for Glendale and the Metro Valley but for the entire state. This project is in the forefront of a new type of retail. As was expressed today, people no longer just want to buy things. We are entering a new age where people want experiences…memories that are invaluable. That is the promise of this new concept for Crystal Lagoon and the new buzz words are ‘experiential retail.’

© Joyce Clark, 2020         

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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