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Rail Extension Will Revive Downtown Mesa

The light-rail station at Main Street and Mesa Drive is part of the city’s 3.1-mile central Mesa light-rail extension, expected to open this fall. Photo credit: Maria Polletta/The Republic

By Maria Polletta for The Arizona Republic

As officials and residents gathered to celebrate progress on the city’s 3.1-mile central Mesa light-rail extension March 23, Mesa Mayor John Giles said he believes prosperity will come to downtown with the train when the extension opens this fall.

“At City Hall, the phone is ringing off the hook with smart, intelligent, seasoned real-estate developers that are lining up to be a part of what’s happening in downtown Mesa right now,” he said. “As these stations continue to develop, you’ll see thousands and thousands of Mesa residents given the opportunity to use light rail.”

The roughly $200M extension will take the rail east along Main Street to Mesa Drive, adding four stations and a park-and-ride. A $75M federal grant will supplement Proposition 400 regional sales-tax funding for the downtown Mesa line, expected to add about 5,000 riders to the system and spur new development.

Designers, architects and artists have taken care to make the stations both functional and attractive, with meaningful art that pulls from Mesa’s history and trellised plants and vines. Guests at Monday’s celebration got a chance to see some of those concepts realized as they explored the in-progress Main Street and Mesa Drive station.

Read more at The Arizona Republic