(Source: AZCentral): Lily Altavena – Growth is the name of the game in Gilbert.
The expanding town is directing a sizable chunk of funds over the next decade on infrastructure projects to keep pace with population. The Gilbert Town Council is in the middle of budget-making for next fiscal year, which begins July 1.
The town’s budget office tallied up $478.3 million in total capital expenses for the next fiscal year. The majority of the money will come from bond funds carried forward.
Here’s a glimpse at some ongoing and upcoming projects in Gilbert:
1. Heritage District parking garage
Gilbert will spend $14 million total to build a second parking garage in the Heritage District, a 1.2-acre structure which will add 600 more parking spaces to the busy part of downtown. The garage will be built with valet services, electric car hookups and a lit tower clock — adding to the city’s small-town Main Street feel.
Construction is expected to be complete by January.
2. Public-safety training facility
The town’s police chief said the facility is necessary to keep up with a more challenging recruitment process where metro-Phoenix police agencies are competing to hire new police officers. The facility will allow Gilbert police to move training from facilities in neighboring cities.
3. Gilbert regional park
Gilbert will spend $100 million on a sprawling, 272-acre park on the town’s southern end. Construction on the first phase will begin this fall, according to town park officials.
The first phase of the park includes:
- Eight pickleball courts.
- Six tennis courts.
- A play structure accessible to people with disabilities.
- 300 parking spaces.
- A splash pad.
Gilbert will spend $18.4 million on the park in 2019 and $16.5 in 2020. Within the decade, another $64.8 million is planned for future phases.
4. Rittenhouse District Park
Rittenhouse District Park, on the east side of Power and Pecos roads, will see a cash infusion in the next decade for major improvements. The town budgeted $20.4 million for improvements at Rittenhouse in 2019 and an additional $41.3 million over the next decade.
Plans presented to the council show two new multi-use lit sports fields, a 3.5-acre lake and 200 parking spots.
5. Elliot District Park improvements
Gilbert and the former operator of the doomed Big League Dreams ballpark continue to quarrel in court, with no end in sight. Lily Altavena/The Republic
Even though the town is in a drawn-out legal battle with Big League Dreams, the former operator of Elliot District Park on the northwest corner of Elliot and Power Roads, Gilbert is moving forward with plans for renovating and repairing the park. The repairs will include fixes to the park’s decorative grandstands and drainage.
The council has not revealed future plans for the park, including whether the town will begin operations when it is set to reopen in January 2019 or whether they will choose a new operator.
All told, Gilbert has set aside about $11.5 million for repairs and improvements in 2019.
6. Germann Road widening
Germann Road will be transformed into a six-lane road all the way through Gilbert. Construction on widening the stretch of Germann from Gilbert to Lindsay roads should begin this fall, according to Town Engineer David Fabiano.
The project, slated to cost $33 million when including improvements to Lindsay Road, will be completed in phases so the roads will stay open.
7. Heritage District improvements
Some of the work on Vaughn will begin this summer and will happen in phases, Fabiano said. It’s slated to cost $4.8 million.
Gilbert will adopt its final budget June 7.