Phoenix Neighbors Want To Shape Future Development Along Rail Line

Published: Saturday, January 27, 2018 - 5:00am
Updated: Monday, January 29, 2018 - 7:11am
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(Photo by Christina Estes - KJZZ)
Monica Merenda shares suggestions for redevelopment in the area known as "19 North."
(Photo by Christina Estes - KJZZ)
Residents and business owners participate in a mapping exercise focused on redevelopment around 19th Avenue between Montebello Avenue and Dunlap Road.

A Phoenix neighborhood that’s expressed concerns since light rail moved into the area hopes to shape future development.

Hunched over large, detailed maps, residents and business owners focused on the area dubbed “19North." It covers the northwest light-rail extension from Montebello Avenue to Dunlap Road.

Using orange and blue markers, they highlighted areas between 15th and 23rd Avenues for redevelopment. The people at Jeff Spellman’s table were clear: no more affordable housing projects. Recently, it’s been a popular location for developers who receive tax credits.

“What we do want to see is more viable business redevelopment along the 19th Avenue corridor, the light-rail corridor, so that we have good restaurants and shops and things like that that people will want to walk to and spend time at,” he said.

Monica Merenda’s family owns a restaurant near 23rd and Northern avenues. As she pointed to a large parcel north of Northern that is already slated for redevelopment.

“I think what we’d like to see is an increase in the number of housing units that go in there and also some community-based space, preferably a safe, walkable area that can connect all the way from Dunlap where you’ve got a lot of colleges and a variety of learning centers and then you’ve got schools and these community hubs,” she said. “So, we’d really love to see a walking-biking corridor that can stretch and run along that area and to create more of a mixed-use community feel — not just housing but maybe put a park, benches, a dog park that can use that open land.”

Other suggestions included a skate park, more greenspace, and businesses improving their lighting and landscaping. The Phoenix Planning Department will use their input as a policy guide for future development. City staff plans to meet with the community in April to receive feedback.

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