By Parker Leavitt for The Arizona Republic
The Gilbert Town Council last week voted to use its newly-established economic-development reserve fund for the first time, earmarking nearly $500K to pay for a sewer-system upgrade in support of expansion plans at Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center.
Construction crews are at work near the intersection of Higley and Baseline roads making roadway improvements, including additional traffic lanes. They’ll install a 15-inch sewerline to serve existing and future development near the Banner Gateway Medical Center campus.
Capital-improvement plans indicate a $4.2 million budget for the project, including about $912K from Mesa and nearly $2.4 million from regional transportation funds.
Although town administrators had recommended using capital project contingency funds to pay for the sewer upgrade, Councilman Victor Petersen asked to tap into the economic-development appropriation instead.
When the council approved several new financial policies last November, the group established an economic-development reserve of $5 million in the general fund and $1 million in the water and wastewater enterprise funds.
The area near Banner Gateway has been identified as a key economic corridor for Gilbert. The area will soon be home to a new Marriott hotel and other development on its several large parcels zoned for regional commercial.
In May, Banner Health unveiled preliminary plans for a major expansion at Banner Gateway, including a seven-story patient tower and the second phase of the cancer-treatment center. The medical complex would also get a six-story parking garage, two additional floors in the existing hospital and a glass-paneled pedestrian bridge to link it all together, according to the plans.
In all, the expansion would bring about 770K square feet in new development to the 60-acre site.
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