March 16, 2005
County and city leaders are joining forces with Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio to clean up an unincorporated area in Tempe populated by junk yards, auto shops and adult-oriented businesses.
Members of the North Tempe Neighborhoods Association have been calling on officials to crack down on the 80-acre area near Scottsdale and Curry roads.
"There are a lot of things that are bothersome in that area," said Evelyn Hallman, vice president of the neighborhood association and mother of Tempe Mayor Hugh Hallman.
She said members of her association were mostly concerned with some businesses that are potentially storing hazardous materials in unsafe conditions.
Last year, sheriff’s deputies responded to 746 calls for service ranging from minor disturbances to felonies, according to city officials. Arpaio said he plans to step up enforcement in the area with more patrols and posse members.
But first, the sheriff said, his chain gang would join local volunteers next month and sweep through the area picking up trash and other debris that litters the county island.
Community leaders are pressing for environmental assessments of properties suspected of contamination. Fulton Brock, R-District 1 of Chandler, said the county plans to press business and home owners to clean up their land.
"We’re going to try and do our part and and improve the conditions in that area," he said. Brock said this will be the third clean-up of its type in recent years.
As the Tempe Fire Department is often called on to provide service in the area, Hallman said his goal is to find long-term solutions by ensuring that business and property owners conform to building and safety standards.