Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Light Rail Is Coming, Lets Get On Board Downtown Mesa
The writing is on the wall and it is time for those in the community to get on board or get out of the way before they get run over and squashed. Legitimate arguments can be made against the system and when I ran for a seat on the council I opposed the expansion of the system on the grounds of cost without further consideration of other forms of mas transit.
While there are businesses and people who don't like the idea of light rail going down Main Street and the area being torn up again, the fact of the matter is, it is coming like it or not. Now the question for those opposed to the planed expansion is whither or not they will come on board and make the system the best it can be.
For some, to get on board that will be hard because they are always kicking against the wall and fighting any kind of progress. In keeping with my declared view of the downtown I see some great possibilities for redevelopment and economic growth for the downtown area. As a real estate broker, if a client came to me today and asked where they should be buying property for the longer term, I would tell them anywhere along downtown corridor for light rail.
Why do I say that because possibility for long term growth is fantastic. With the changes being made in the zoning laws, the possibility for the downtown to come a live are better now than they have ever been. Mesa zoning laws will become more flexible, allowing uses and the possibility of residential living to occur in downtown Mesa. Residential living is one of the components missing to a successful nightlife and economic development in the area.
With light rail in the downtown area we can look at other major players to come into the area. This give Mesa the possibility to divest it's self of some of land they have acquired over the years. This would include the Escobido housing area, the corner of University and Mesa Dr. and the old Maricopa County Health Department building on Main Street just west of Mesa Dr.
One of the real issues for the businesses along Main Street during construction will be traffic to there locations. It will also depend on the businesses it's self and if it will take advantage of help that will be offered to them, either through marketing, grants, low interest loans and other assistance that will be made available.
Businesses need to start planing now for the construction that will come and it will. For some that will mean transforming the way they think and view the downtown. Those businesses that fail during this period will be those who have been unwilling to accept the help and assistance offered or waited to long to transform there business and that the refusal to see the possibilities.