Chandler is asking residents to approve $451 million in bond issue projects May 15 — more than any bond issue election in the city’s history.
Yet no one has filed any official opposition to any of the proposals, which include money for parks, public safety and roadways.
But the smallest proposal on the 10-item list is getting the most attention.
The city is asking voters to approve a $65,000 bond issue to clear the way for a $2.4 million Chandler Municipal Airport runway expansion covered almost entirely by state and federal grants. A city ordinance requires that any funding of runway extensions includes voter-approved bonds.
“Any time you’re dealing with airports and people, you’re always going to have questions,” said Rick Heumann, a Chandler resident who sat on the city’s Bond Advisory Task Force. “But it’s really about safety more than anything else.”
Proponents say the longer runway would make the airport safer, especially for corporate jets, which airport officials and nearby business owners say will increase the facility’s economic impact to the local economy.
But some neighbors are opposed to the runway extension, saying it would increase air traffic and potential risk for crashes in residential and retail areas.
Those neighbors have joined forces with an activist group fighting drug-tester Covance’s plans to build a large laboratory facility in the Chandler Airpark.
Both groups believe Covance would benefit from the longer runway because company officials could more easily fly in on corporate jets although the company doesn’t own any aircraft and Covance says its executives regularly travel by commercial airlines.
The only other project to raise any significant public attention is a $4.5 million museum bond issue. If approved, it would be combined with an $8.5 million bond issue approved in 2004 to build the museum.
Skyrocketing construction costs have been blamed for pushing the project’s price tag up to nearly $13 million.
If the bond issue is approved, proceeds will pay for a 20,000- to 30,000-squarefoot Chandler Museum along the west side of Arizona Avenue just south of Boston Street.
Chandler is asking voters to approve 10 bond issue proposals totaling $451 million:
• Parks projects: $81,350,000.
• Police stations and equipment: $15,745,000.
• Fire stations and equipment: $14,265,000.
• Library improvements: $11,255,000.
• Center for the Arts: $4,200,000.
• Museum: $4,500,000
• Water and sewer: $107,850,000.
• Expansion of Public Works Building: $9,960,000.
• Street and highway: $202,310,000.
• Airport: $65,000.
Early voting began Thursday, and the bond issue election is scheduled for May 15. Mail-in ballots can be obtained by calling the Maricopa County Elections Department at (602) 506-1511.