Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Spring Training in Laveen

As many people are aware, our friends in Tucson currently face a dire situation with regard to Spring Training. The White Sox have finalized their escape from the market, and now the remaining two teams, the D-Backs and Rockies, have expressed an interest in seeking greener pastures as well. They can freely leave, as per their contracts, as long as Tucson does not remain home to at least three separate teams - and now there are two.

The bright side to this story is that the teams are not looking outside of Arizona. Furthermore, they are even considering Laveen (as well as Scottsdale, Gila River Indian Reservation, and Casa Grande, among others). And not only are these two remaining Tucson teams possibly slated to relocate here, we are also courting teams from Florida! After all, why scuffle for a piece of the pie, when we can make the whole thing bigger and earn our share.

According to unidentified sources, Scottsdale and Casa Grande's public bids for the Diamondbacks are not likely to be successful. There is nothing yet to report about the Rockies, except that Laveen/Phoenix representatives have already approached them. And then there are rumors about bringing in a team known for its home run hitters from an east coast borough - but I can't say at this time who it is.

In any case, the outlook is bright for our ability to bring in some springtime entertainment. On our side, we have the city of Phoenix, ADOT (remember that freeway?), plenty of influential developers, and a great geographic location. Let's go for the home run!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Courting Desirable Retailers for Laveen

I don't think I shared this on my blog, but LA Fitness has committed to moving in at the Southwest corner of 51st Avenue and Baseline. This, in my opinion, is a wonderful convenience since Catherine and I always use the one at the Biltmore or in Tempe.

And I'm not only excited about having a place to work out nearby, but also all of the other retailers that would move in next to a national gym. Think about how much better a Hi-Health or GNC would perform next to one. Or how about a healthy fast food restaurant.......

Well, along those lines, I've been following up on the rumors of a Chipotle near Safeway. After sending an initial inquiry, I was contacted by Chipotle's representative (with the good name Patrick), who assured me that his real estate people would consider the location even though they hadn't yet thought about it. Here is my most recent response:


Thank you for your reply. For reference, the Safeway center is this one; here's a pdf for the Target shopping center, still in planning stages; and here's the LA Fitness shopping center. The Safeway center opened last month, where one of the spaces looks just like a Chipotle, which is why people started talking about one being planned. Next up will be the LA Fitness shopping center, across the street, which should begin construction soon - LA Fitness has already begun publicizing the location. Next up is the Super Target, which I understand has yet to sign the lease, but the project is still underway in the future. Being more of a regional center, they are awaiting the final word about freeway funding (Loop 202 South Mountain).

As you can see, I'm a very involved resident. As such, I will happily provide you with more information about Laveen if you so desire. I also have a blog, highlighting recent activities in the community. Please let me know if you need anything else - it would be great to have a Chipotle around the corner.


Patrick Brennan

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Turkey Trot and Dairy Air Dash

I may as well warn my readers: This one gets a little personal......

Bummer. According to the www.laveen.org website, the Turkey Trot and Dairy Air Dash are being held on Saturday, November 22nd. Unfortunately, this is the same day as the huge El Tour de Tucson century ride, which always takes place the weekend prior to Thanksgiving. And I am committed to always riding in El Tour, as it's a far more challenging event.

What happened to the "Turkey Trot" occurring on "Turkey Day?" I was really looking forward to registering this year, since last year Catherine and I weren't able to make it. And I thought the attendance was higher than expected last year, which seems like a relative success..... so, I guess I can guiltily hope that the attendance is LOWER this year.... but that just makes me seem disloyal to my community. You understand that I'm not, right? I'm just a tad selfish.

But I guess we all make choices. It reminds me of last year, when I chose to go to the UA/ASU basketball game in Tucson, rather than attend the Laveen BBQ. I'm still repenting over that one, although I can't help being a die hard Wildcat (with season tickets). Oh well, I will still encourage others to get involved - just like last year......

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

New Community Center in Laveen

It's official. Via word from our LCC President and Councilman Nowikowski's office, we have officially received funding for a regional community center. It will be located at Chavez park and will be under construction soon (within 5 years). More details will be forthcoming.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

We want our freeway!!!

So, it appears that the Loop 202 completion is threatened yet again - this time due to the state's budget shortfall. Based on the following article from the AZ Republic, however, it appears to be one of the best options for regional freeway planning.

And residents of Laveen should understand that the freeway is our ticket to economic growth. Not only will we finally get our major retailers (sigh), but it will also mean that a hospital will become that much more likely to enter the market. And who knows? There have been rumors that we could pick up a spring training complex, given our convenient location in regard to the other facilities in the west/central Phoenix areas. But without a freeway? I doubt it.

Oh, by the way, some people say they don't like the relatively short drive here. Perhaps a freeway would change their minds? Here's the article:

Freeway projects may be on chopping block

Several Southeast Valley transportation projects could be on the chopping block when Valley mayors begin the process next month of deciding how to cut at least $4.5 billion from the Valley's 20-year transportation plan.

The shortfall is largely due to lower-than-expected sales-tax revenues combined with growing project construction costs, and policy makers must decide whether to move ahead on the county's 20-year Regional Transportation Plan or modify planned freeway projects. Projects may not be cut altogether but could be scaled back.

Southeast Valley projects that are among 18 Valley-wide that could be cut, delayed or changed:

• Interstate 10 East, $811.4 million in carpool and general-purpose lanes, traffic interchanges and a mini stack.

• Loop 101 Price Freeway, $135.2 million in carpool and general-purpose lanes.

• Loop 202-Red Mountain Freeway, $607.8 million in carpool and general-purpose lanes, plus ramp work.

• Loop 202-Santan Freeway, $448.5 million in carpool and general-purpose lanes, plus traffic interchanges.

• Loop 202-South Mountain Freeway, $2.68 billion in new construction for 22 miles of freeway.

• U.S. 60 Superstition Freeway, $173.8 million in carpool lanes, traffic interchanges and related work.

Negotiations at the Maricopa Association of Governments likely will pit parochial interests against each other as mayors try to hammer out which projects are essential and which can be delayed.

Gilbert mayor Steve Berman, who also is chairman of MAG's Transportation Policy Committee, said he doesn't look forward to tackling the list.

"To be honest with you, when we did the original allocations a few years ago, it was the most brutal, miserable process in the world," Berman said. "Every single mayor in that room was elected to take care of their community, but we had to look at the whole picture."

Berman said he expects committee members to make one of three arguments:

• Projects such as the South Mountain Freeway were promised in the last voter-approved tax, Proposition 300, and should be built to meet that promise.

• Certain projects are more important because they would benefit the region as a whole.

• The amount cities receive for projects should be based on how much that city contributes to sales tax revenue.

Berman said he favors the third argument, although he also supports the notion of building projects already passed by voters. "We need to complete the projects that were promised back 20 years ago," he said.

Tempe Mayor Hugh Hallman, another committee member, said he will support projects that carry the biggest traffic loads, including fixing problems with the I-10.

"I will strongly advocate that the U.S. 60/I-10 interchange has to be improved because the Broadway Curve is the place where most of the congestion occurs," he said.

He also said he backs building the proposed Loop 202-South Mountain Freeway because it would relieve bottlenecks along Interstate 10 by giving motorists another way to commute from Ahwatukee to west Phoenix.

But Hallman said the MAG committee shouldn't evaluate the projects on a piecemeal basis.

"There has to be a fairly global examination of what our transportation needs are, first," he said.

Goodyear Mayor James Cavanaugh, past chairman and current member of the MAG committee, agreed that this is no time for horse trading for pet projects.

"We have to live by the word 'regional,'" Cavanaugh said. "As mayors, we have to think regionally."

Cavanaugh said the committee is awaiting updated revenue numbers, which have been falling with the worsening economy. He said many committee members agree work needs to continue on Loop 303 in the west Valley, which has been planned since 1985.

But he stopped short of making the same recommendation for the South Mountain Freeway. Rather than a full-blown freeway, the Arizona Department of Transportation should build a parkway with fewer lanes and fewer interchanges, he said.

He also suggested toll roads be considered as one solution to solving the financial crisis.