A new west Mesa organization is looking to clean up Main Street by capitalizing on the planned light-rail route and using innovative building design.
The nonprofit West Mesa Community Development Corporation, a coalition of the Mesa Grande Community Alliance, Comite de Familias en Accion and Pepper Place Neighborhood, has initially targeted the Main Street corridor from the Tempe border east to Country Club Drive.
This is Mesa’s nearly onemile segment of the light-rail route, today plagued by blight, crime and prostitution.
The group will hold an informational neighborhood meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the East Valley Institute of Technology, at 1601 W. Main St. in the heart of the corridor.
The purpose is to educate residents and business owners about hopes for urban development along the light-rail route, an owner-occupied affordable housing development, environmentally friendly "green building" design and the reduction of crime through the layout of buildings and lighting.
"We’re not looking to kick people out, but let’s make the whole business district here more viable and also reduce crime," said Dave Richins, the community corporation’s executive director.
Carmen Guerrero, treasurer of Comite de Familias en Accion (Families in Action committee), said the goal of the 6-year-old neighborhood group is to assist low-income Spanish-speaking families, many of whom live in trailer parks along Main Street.
Guerrero said she hopes the west Mesa organization can encourage building affordable single-family "work force" homes, adding that not everyone can afford $300,000 homes. "We don’t want to wait until the city asks us to vacate. We are being proactive and studying possibly redeveloping another site in the same corridor," Guerrero said.
The organization will hold meetings this fall to brainstorm planning ideas for the corridor. Those dates have not been set.
Board member and former Councilman Dennis Kavanaugh said forming a community development corporation will allow the group to receive public and private grants and enable members to work more closely with outside organizations.
West Mesa planning
Who: West Mesa Community Development Corporation
What: Neighborhood planning meeting
When: 7 p.m. Tuesday
Where: East Valley Institute of Technology, 1601 W. Main St.