stand on S. Mtn. Park makes no sense
Feb. 21, 2006 12:00 AM
your editorial Feb. 8, the headline reads, "Bond package will help
Ahwatukee." In this article you state the following:
Foothills is fortunate enough to have one of the biggest city parks in its back
yard. It seems a shame to lose an opportunity to preserve a larger piece of it.
The bond money would help ensure that the land goes to the residents, not to a
"The bond also would provide $8.3 million to buy some of the South Mountain
620, a parcel of state trust land intended for auction. The city hopes to buy
the land north of Chandler Boulevard, between 19th and 27th avenues, to use
primarily as parks and open space. The 2001 bond provided $10 million toward
buying the same land, but Phoenix hasn't been able to purchase it because
earlier auctions brought no bidders. In a negotiated agreement with the state, a
developer with the winning bid on the entire 620 would have immediately sold the
part north of Chandler Boulevard to Phoenix
"It's good that Phoenix officials want to be ready to buy that land. As
Ahwatukee fills in and becomes more highly populated, preserving open space in
the foothills of South Mountain is a huge benefit to the community. It adds to
hiking and playing areas while keeping the number of additional homes down.
I find most of the above statement appalling, especially the last paragraph.
You want the residents of Ahwatukee to vote for a proposition that helps them
save part of South Mountain Park from developers but yet you're in favor of the
South Mountain Freeway, which destroys South Mountain Park.
Plans for the proposed 10-lane, $1 billion-plus freeway route are through the
westernmost portion of South Mountain Park and call for taking 32 acres of South
Mountain Park with cuts up to 200 feet deep and 800 feet wide in two of the
mountain's ridges. This preserve is a public park and has much cultural
significance to the Gila River Indian Community.
On my scale, taking away parkland for a freeway is much worse than taking land
that abuts a park for houses. I'm all for preserving open space but I have
serious doubts about these propositions not costing the taxpayers any money. I'm
sure many Phoenix voters will question that, as well, when they receive their
property tax bill in August. We can expect big increases.
Many people in this community have real problems with their decision on voting
on these propositions since they can't get public statements from civic leaders
(Mayor Phil Gordon) on how they stand on such a vastly important issue as the
South Mountain Freeway.
And your stand now makes absolutely no sense.