In October of 2018, Mesa residents were faced with a ballot question that would provide bonds to fund $196 million in renovations and new construction on the city’s parks, public safety system, and cultural centers. The measure was approved, but the work it pays for will stretch out for the next six years.
Although the bond proposal was based in the middle of a fiscal year – Mesa’s fiscal year runs from July 1 to June 30 – some of the preliminary work on the city improvements is already underway.
Before the end of the 2019 fiscal year, the city will have acquired land for the Eastmark fire station, a new public safety facility, and new ballfields on North Center Street and Monterey Park.
At the same time, preliminary designs are being drawn up for an expansion of the i.d.e.a. Museum, the Federal Building renovation, Monterey Park, and other aspects of the massive public works project.
The funding will be used in two ways:
- To renovate and upgrade existing facilities, including the Federal Building and the i.d.e.a. Museum; and
- To build new fire and police stations, parks, playgrounds, and other facilities.
The city has broken out phases of the project for each fiscal year between now and the scheduled completion date in 2024.
A Massive Effort
In total, the project will span more than 6 fiscal years. There was some question that Mesa voters might balk at the proposal, especially since it shared space on the ballot with another huge spending referendum, which allocated $300 million for improvements to Mesa’s public schools.
Ultimately, voters approved both measures. The bond measure includes funding for improvements to park, public safety, and cultural sites in the city of Mesa. For example, the city will build new playing fields at:
- Crimson & Elliott Basin
- Monterey Park
- North Center Street
- Red Mountain Youth Baseball/Softball
It will also add park amenities at City Center Plaza, Country Side Dog Park, and the Harris Center Playground.
Improvements to public safety include replacement of needed fire apparatus, two new fire stations, a new police evidence facility, and a new Northeast Police Substation, as well as improvements to the city’s communications system.
The cultural improvements include new construction for the i.d.e.a. Museum, renovations to the main library and the Dotson library, a new library in Southeast Mesa, and a renovation of the Federal Building.
Finally, the city will add or upgrade shared use paths at Lehi Crossing, Eastern Canal, and Signal Butte Park.
The design and construction work is spread out over 6 years. The smallest amount of money will be spent in the 2018-2019 fiscal year, with the biggest cash outlay occurring in the 2022-2023 fiscal year, where spending will top $57 million.
The nearly $200-million project will bring plenty of new construction and jobs to the City of Mesa. At the same time, work will be ongoing on the City’s school improvements. The $300 million approved by voters will fund school repairs, technology upgrades, as well as buying new school buses for the district.