You can win even if you can’t play. Only Phoenicians will vote in their $878.5 million bond issue election on March 14, but their actions could benefit East Valley communities in a number of ways.
Think new police stations; new water and sewer lines for the Phoenix Zoo; funding for opera and ballet.
The seven bond issue propositions worth $878.5 million would send money to a smorgasbord of programs: Public safety, education, parks, cultural centers, housing, transportation and city streets.
The bond issue won’t raise their property tax rates, but Phoenix residents will still have to pay back the bonds over time with current taxes. East Valley residents, however, would be able to enjoy, for example, the $3.8 million in renovations at the Phoenix Art Museum just by paying admission.
Half of the members and visitors to the museum come from outside the city, said Jim Ballinger, executive director.
And Valley cities often share public safety and other city services, said Phoenix Councilman Greg Stanton.
“Sometimes I think politicians put too much importance on city lines,” he said. “People in the community just want services. They don’t care who provides it.”
One of the bond issue propositions benefits the Phoenix Zoo, the Desert Botanical Garden and Papago Park, which share borders with Tempe and Scottsdale.
“The garden serves the whole Valley,” said Ken Schutz, botanical garden executive director. “Plants don’t know any borders.”
A “yes” vote would also help make the Reach 11 Sports Complex at Cave Creek and Deer Valley roads the largest soccer complex in the Valley. Officials said the demand for soccer space is soaring.
“There are tournaments almost two times a month in Phoenix, especially in winter,” said Kim Keith, Reach 11 parks supervisor. “They are always looking for more fields.”
Another area for potential bond issue impact is public transit.
Proposition 6 would send $2 million to a project devoted to spurring development near light-rail stations.
The city would work with businesses to build public gathering spaces, open plazas, sidewalks, and residential and commercial properties — all within a 10-minute walk to the light-rail stations, said Bo Martinez, program manager for Transit-Oriented Development.
“We’re pretty excited, but we’re recognizing this is going to be a long-term strategy for all cities involved,” Martinez said.
One of Phoenix’s light-rail stations, at 44th and Washington streets, will be about a mile from the Tempe border, he said.
“A change in one jurisdiction affects them all,” Schutz said. “If voters in one area make a decision to everyone’s benefit, maybe in the future other voters will do the same.”