PEORIA, Ariz. (December 1, 2011) – When the Arizona Court of Appeals ruled on
November 17 that electronic billboards along state and federal highways violated
the Arizona Highway Beautification Act's ban on intermittent light has forced
Peoria to pause with their big plans. The city had looked to using funding
generated by electronic billboards as the preferred method to help finance two
parking garages in the entertainment district near 83rd Avenue and Bell Road.
"We are still whole-heartedly committed to this project, but with the court's
ruling, we may need to determine alternative funding to complete the garages,"
said Scott Whyte, director of economic development for the city of Peoria.
The city anticipates there will be challenges to the court's ruling, so no
decision has been made on the alternative funding sources, if they are needed.
Staff from the city's Economic Development Services department will prepare
alternate plans, if necessary, and present to the city council for approval at a
yet undetermined date.
The city had recently started a series of citizen engagement meetings to discuss
proposal of billboards along the Agua Fria Freeway (Loop 101) near Bell Road.
The revenue generated by the billboard advertising would go towards construction
of two parking garages which will cost approximately $54 million. The
advertising revenue was designed to make up the shortfall of a voter approved
bond half-cent sales tax, or approximately $26 million.
The garages are part of the proposed Entertainment District Improvement project
(EDIP) and the Osage West, LLC Mixed-Use Redevelopment Project (MURP) which
would transform the Peoria Sports Complex District into a destination-oriented
and pedestrian-focused environment. The mixed-use project would include a hotel,
shopping, restaurants and a residential component on the Peoria Sports Complex
parking area. The garages are needed to replace lost parking spaces as well as
additional spaces for the increased visitors anticipated with the destination.
According to Whyte, the "P83" identity project is continuing in spite of this
setback. "Though we are delayed in the process for expanding the district, we
are determined to proceed with the identification work and pedestrian friendly
The city announced last August a proposal to identify the entertainment
district, which includes the area from 75th Avenue and Bell Road to 83rd Avenue
south to Skunk Creek, as "P83," or Peoria and 83rd. The district area includes
the Peoria Sports Complex, Spring Training home of the Seattle Mariners and San
Diego Padres. The city's proposal is to develop signage packages, add lighting,
and beautify and expand the pedestrian walkways.
On the leading edge of the Phoenix metropolitan area, Peoria is one of Arizona’s
fastest growing communities. This one-time farming community was originally
settled in 1886 and incorporated in 1954. Located just 25 minutes from Sky
Harbor International Airport, Peoria is a dynamic community of more than 150,000
people today. Home to nearly 50 miles of trails, award-winning schools and
parks, well-planned residential neighborhoods, Major League Baseball Spring
Training home for the Seattle Mariners and San Diego Padres, and the area’s
second largest lake, this progressive yet grounded and well-balanced community
is positioned to be a decisive component of Arizona’s economic future.