There are a lot of people going to a lot of mental effort to make it make sense — a water wonderland in Mesa. I freely admit that I’m one of them.
We all know the drill. Waveyard’s developers will sink $250 million into the neglected northwest corner of Mesa on a waterlogged adventure park that will draw up to 1 million visitors every year, with about 600,000 of those coming from out of state. Beachfront property values will crest as far south as University Drive, and the entire city will have an identity beyond red ink, white bread (or tortillas) and blue hair.
We got more ammo last week to justify our eagerness to throw aside a golf course and ballfield complex many of us were ready to chain ourselves to a few years ago to prevent construction of the Cardinals stadium; the Mesa Convention and Visitors Bureau announced Waveyard would fill a total of 400,000 room nights in the Valley per year. Whatever that means.
And exactly how much water will it require? Stay tuned.
I know I will stay tuned. And it hit me while listening to this weekend’s forecast just why my mind is so open to this idea when it wasn’t while the Mesa Riverview developers floated the idea of taking out the ballfields to expand their auto mall.
It can’t be the statistics, because I’m really not much of a numbers person.
I just want a beach.
I don’t want Waveyard to be built in Surprise because that’s a long way to drive just to park outside the gates and listen for non-native 12-foot waves crashing against the sand, or the screams of kayakers with tons more money than me as they ride the carefully controlled rapids of the whitewater course.
Sure, the car gets hot in the summer, but I was in California last December and the beach was even more fun in the low season because there was about a tenth as many people, and most were fully clothed, reducing my own insecurities. So the ugly season here can’t be so bad.
And yes, I know building a beach here won’t change the area’s climate, but I think my mind can fill in the blanks. Just like it does when I eat seafood on or near the beach. It always tastes better there, even though most of it probably came from some distant sea, not the one I’m staring at. Having at least one cheesy gift shop in Waveyard would help, too.
This is how Mesa can work — take a city of 450,000 where no one, whether they’ve lived here 30 years or 30 days, wants to pay any taxes, and put an ocean next to it. Then, everyone will be jumping to pay taxes.
I wonder when I go over to San Diego or L.A. whether the locals take the beach for granted, and I figure they probably do. But when I think about the prices they pay for gas and food and land and homes and the right to feel that cool breeze — I know they don’t.
And I don’t want to have to drive five hours to see that. Or even three hours, if I’m just going to Surprise.