Push for vote raises hopes for freeway location
Ahwatukee Foothills News
March 2, 2005
paraphrase Winston Churchill, it's probably not the beginning of the
end, but it may be the end of the beginning.
four years of study, people who live next to Pecos Road might
finally learn if a freeway will be built in their back yard, or if
it will be built farther south on the Gila River Indian Community.
Indian community's lieutenant governor would like her tribe to vote
to allow or reject a study to build the South Mountain Loop 202
freeway on their land, south of Pecos Road.
Gov. Mary Thomas made the suggestion during at the Feb. 24 meeting
of the South Mountain Citizen Advisory Team, which is looking at a
possible route for the freeway from Interstate 10 next to Ahwatukee
Foothills, west around South Mountain to I-10 between 51st Avenue
and the Loop 101 interchange.
the most public acknowledgement of a call to action in some time,
and raised the hopes of Lisa Percharo.
hope it does happen. I'm all for it," said Percharo, a Gila
River Indian who lives in Komatke, near where a freeway could go.
no vote has been scheduled, warned a tribal spokesman.
is very preliminary discussion regarding that possibility,"
said Gary Bohnee, spokesman for the Gila River Indian Community
governor's office. "I don't believe the full council has had a
the Ahwatukee Foothills portion of the freeway the only possible
routes are the 1985 alignment, which is the current location of
Pecos Road, or south on the Indian land. Until now, the Indian
community has been noncommittal about a freeway and opposed any
active study of a possible route on their land.
a high-stakes poker game, a lot will ride on the outcome of a vote.
the community agrees to a study, the freeway could be built away
from the homes, school and church that back up to Pecos Road.
the community votes down the study, then the only apparent route for
the freeway's southern leg would be on Pecos Road.
worries Rock Argabright, a member of the citizen advisory team. He
fears that a quick election won't give transportation planners time
to explain the pros and cons of a freeway to Gila River Indian
afraid they will vote it down because they don't understand
it," he said.
Percharo said she believes her fellow community members will support
think they'll go for it. The old-timers are gone and the new
generation is coming in and what do they want? They want something
to be here. We need a shopping center around here," she said.
husband Nathaniel is the president of the 700-member Interstate 10
Landowners Association made up of families that own land along where
the freeway could go.
John McComish called the possible vote "a very positive
need a resolution, and if it's yes then it means the planning
process can begin," he said.
he also admitted that he's worried the Indian community could veto
construction of a freeway on tribal land.
anxious about what the vote will be, but we need to do it."