We expect there will be the usual naysayers. The pundits who quickly assess the project, then criticize, complain, mock and move on to share their “brilliance” on the next Facebook subject. There will be the crowd of “ … I told you so,” experts who gleefully embellish failure and play to the populace with denunciation of wasted time and money at taxpayers’ expense.
There will be the Johnny-come-latelys, who will complain they were not told and will raise the specter of conspiracy, despite never attending a public meeting or investing any effort to find out more.
We’re talking about what’s coming on the West End of Fry Boulevard.
At Tuesday’s work session of the Sierra Vista City Council, Public Works Director Sharon Flissar made the latest presentation on the progress of the $3.5 million project. Don’t worry taxpayers, more than 90 percent of the money has been secured through state and federal grants.
Flissar presented — in excruciating detail — the process officials use to determine where and what kind of traffic lights are being considered on the “new” Fry Boulevard, between Carmichael Avenue and Buffalo Solider Trail. Her screed is available on the city’s YouTube channel, where all council work sessions and regular meetings are posted.
We recommend a caffeinated drink if you choose to watch the almost two-hour Oct. 20 public gathering.
Flissar’s presentation was just one example of the exhaustive study that city officials have made in drafting plans for the renovation of the main thoroughfare in the oldest area of Sierra Vista. Everything from the street markings to the types of trees and shrubs that will adorn the West End is being studied, debated and decided.
Council members — withal the public — have been an integral part of the decision-making process. For at least the last half-decade or more this community-changing project has been planned, studied and slowly progressed toward reality.
City officials have consulted the council all along the way.
The plan calls for narrowing Fry Boulevard west of Carmichael Avenue from five lanes to two lanes and creating a pedestrian-friendly streetscape that features multi-use paths, wide crosswalks and plenty of greenery.
The goal of this revitalization isn’t to frustrate motorists.Traffic monitoring in recent years has proven that the volume of vehicles racing west on Fry Boulevard, beginning at the intersection of State Routes 92 and 90, decreases as traffic gets closer to the front gate of Fort Huachuca.
Most motorists prefer the bypass when they need to go west in Sierra Vista.
The goal of this project is to reclaim an area of the city where property values are not climbing as fast as everywhere else in Sierra Vista. Investing in public infrastructure is the only effective “tool” available to the city that will inspire private redevelopment and economic expansion west of Carmichael Avenue.
Invest in the West End, and everyone’s property in Sierra Vista will increase in value.