Mtn. routes leave Avondale 'in the dark'
just don't know where this is going to end up," Assistant City Manager
David Fitzhugh said. "It's an uncertainty we'd like to resolve."
The planned South Mountain Freeway would complete Loop 202 and connect Interstate 10 in the west and east. Two alignment options, 99th Avenue and 97th Avenue, would affect Avondale the most, though they wouldn't slice it down the middle as they would Tolleson.
A few years ago, the Avondale City Council passed a resolution against a 99th Avenue alignment. A full reconstruction along it could take out the Chevy dealership in the Avondale Auto Mall and some businesses on 99th Avenue, Fitzhugh said.
The biggest concern is that the full reconstruction would limit access to McDowell Road. The city has designated the stretch of McDowell along I-10 for regional retail centers, hotels and office parks - all tax-revenue sources.
Joe Walters is developing Gateway Crossing on the southwestern corner of 99th Avenue and McDowell. The 29-acre shopping center will boast an Old Navy store and a Claim Jumper restaurant and sits next to one of the freeway-alignment options.
But Walters doubts that his business will get hurt and is charging through with construction.
Avondale City Councilman Jim Buster, a member of the South Mountain Citizens Advisory Team, supports the 97th Avenue alignment. With growth occurring "decidedly west," there would be a good case to have the alignment farther in the West Valley to follow the population, he said.
Buster also forecasts a possible "shot in the arm in sales tax" for both Avondale and Tolleson.
Buster understands Tolleson's fears that the 97th Avenue alignment would divide the small city, but he said that option might not be as bleak as it seems.
"Right now Avondale has already been cut in half with I-10, and we've certainly survived," he said. "We turned lemons into lemonade by having car dealerships there."