Several years ago Paradise Valley streets near Echo Canyon hiking and parking were overrun by cars, even those as far away as 56th Street. On any given spring day hundreds of vehicles would line 56th Street right of way between McDonald and Lincoln.
It was a disaster.
Our neighborhood asked for this to end, as did others. The response and related efforts turned out to be local government at its very best.
First, then-Mayor Scott LeMarr, the Town Council and former Town Manager Jim Bacon worked with the city of Phoenix to expand and improve the parking lot and trailhead at Echo Canyon.
Next, they recognized that with the Sanctuary Resort on one end and El Chorro on the other with the Mountain Shadows resort and residences in between, 56th Street could and should be an “iconic” street in town. They understood a parking lot wasn’t acceptable, or 56th Street’s dilapidated condition.
So, they set aside capital improvement funds to beautify the street and also secured $1.6 million from Mountain Shadows redeveloper Crown Realty & Development to help pay for it.
The result is now on display, after six months of construction. It’s spectacular. Town staff led by Jim Shano listened to resident input. Regular updates were sent out about construction and traffic. As a next door neighbor I can’t thank Mayor Collins, the current Town Council and town management enough for so capably taking the baton and finishing the job so well.
So often we hear nothing but negatives about local government. But not this time. It took several years of creativity and commitment, with many moving parts. Bu Paradise Valley’s own version of a north Central Phoenix bridal path is now done. And many are very grateful for the outstanding public servants who made it possible.
There will be a celebration of the achievement early on Saturday morning Sept. 27th. In the spirit of what some communities do when freeways open 56th Street will be shut down to allow people to walk, bike, stroll, job, roller blade and enjoy special offerings from El Chorro, Sanctuary Resort, the new homes rising at the Village of Mountain Shadows courtesy of Cullum Homes, a jazz band, McLarens and even Arabian Horses.
In this way everyone will get to enjoy Paradise Valley’s government operating at its very best, not just those who are fortunate to live next to its latest achievement every day.
See you then. Along the coolest street in town.
Editor’s note: Mr. Rose is a Paradise Valley resident and president of Scottsdale-based Rose+Moser+Allyn Public & Online Relations