Phoenix voters on Tuesday enthusiastically approved seven bond proposals aimed at breathing life into the sprawling metropolis. The $878.5 million in bonds will be spread out to all facets of the city, including safety, roads, arts and education.
The bonds will be funded with city property taxes, currently $1.82 per $100 of assessed valuation.
Arizona State University will receive the largest chunk of the money, $184 million, to fund its downtown branch. The campus eventually will house 15,000 students, and city officials are hoping it will become a fountain of youth for the sleepy downtown nightlife.
Brian Kearney, president and CEO of the Downtown Phoenix Partnership, said developers have been counting on the university’s presence for months.
“It makes Phoenix downtown an important place,” he said.
Bond supporters celebrated at a Phoenix block party that featured music, street entertainers and ASU mascot Sparky, who did seven push-ups for each of the bonds.
“We’re just beginning the birthing of ASU in downtown Phoenix,” said ASU President Michael Crow.
All of the bonds passed with overwhelming support, according to election results Tuesday. Here’s a brief rundown of the seven ballot propositions:
Public safety: New police and fire stations and technological upgrades to improve communication.
Technology: Enhancements to communication systems throughout the city, from wireless Internet to geographic information systems.
Education: Money for ASU, a College of Pharmacy for the University of Arizona and improvements to Phoenix Union High School.
Recreation: Improvements to Papago Park, the Phoenix Zoo, the Desert Botanical Garden and a slew of other city parks.
Culture: Updates to the Phoenix Art Museum, city libraries and several other cultural and community centers.
Neighborhoods: Moderni- zation in public housing, improved efforts to fight graffiti and investment in land near the future stops of the light rail.
Infrastructure: Improve- ments to several city streets and sewers.
Nearly $150 million will go to arts and cultural endeavors, which is crucial to the development of Phoenix as a major U.S. city, said David Hemphill, executive director of the Black Theatre Troupe.
“We are soon to be the fifth-largest city in the country,” he said. “For us to be so far behind, for us to have developed other areas more quickly than arts and cultural areas, is pretty spooky.”