Voters on the Gila River Reservation elected a new governor
this week. William Roy Rhodes, who has been serving as the community's chief
judge, will replace Richard Narcia in January.
Ahwatukee Foothills and Chandler residents will probably be interested in
watching how this leadership change affects issues close to their lives.
The big question will be whether Rhodes will be more open to the idea of a
freeway running through the reservation. As it stands now, the tribe has a
resolution against allowing the South Mountain Freeway to be built on its
land. But times change, and now the leadership is changing. We would guess
officials from Phoenix and the Arizona Department of Transportation are
already setting up appointments to discuss the freeway with the new governor.
Other long-range issues that the new governor and council
might be addressing:
• 40th Street connection. The tribe has set aside money to study routes
that would connect 40th Street and Pecos Road in Ahwatukee Foothills to their
own 48th Street and Wild Horse Pass Boulevard. The slanted alignment
represents a fallback arrangement for the tribe, which had wanted to run 48th
Street directly north. Ahwatukee residents vehemently opposed running a major
road through Pecos Park, although former Phoenix Mayor Skip Rimsza had given
tribal officials the impression the road would go through. A connector along
40th Street would make it easier for Ahwatukee residents to visit the tribe's
golf courses, Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort and Spa and the upcoming Rawhide
Western Town & Steakhouse.
• Addressing the traffic needs of Arizona 347 through the reservation.
The four-lane road from Maricopa to Phoenix will likely become overstressed as
the small Pinal County city grows faster than its employment base. Those
drivers will be coming up to Interstate 10 just south of Ahwatukee and
• The Memorial Airfield just south of Queen Creek Road. Sun Lakes
residents in particular do not want to listen to airplanes from another area
In recent years, communication between the tribe and its neighboring
communities has markedly improved. We hope Rhodes will continue that trend.
take role in planning
We're sort of on a
kick about getting residents involved.
We've already given Ahwatukee Foothills residents a heads-up about the freeway
open house Thursday.
Now, Chandler residents have reason to be paying attention on an issue of
importance to them. The city is holding an open house and a public meeting to
talk about developing historic downtown. They especially want ideas about the
new entry corridor coming north from Pecos Road up to Boston Street. On Monday
and Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Chandler officials will be waiting for
your visit at Gospel "4" Life Church's meeting room at 260 S.
Arizona Ave. Give the designers an idea, then return later and see your input
in a sketch on the wall.
The results of the two-day open house will be presented at 7 p.m. Dec. 1 in a
forum at Chandler Council Chambers. For those who've never attended a public
meeting, they are on the second floor of the downtown library. If you don't
know that, it's past time you got involved. The forum also will focus on where
to build the new city hall and museum
Everyone's busy, of course. Everyone has things they would rather do than go
to a city meeting, even if it's just hang around the house and relax. But the
future gets planned by the people who show up. So if you stay home, you can't
complain about the decisions.