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Tolleson Talks $9.3M Downtown Redevelopment

By Emily McCann for West Valley View

An artist’s rendering depicts the Tolleson City Council’s vision for Van Buren Street.
Photo Credit: Submitted to West Valley View

Tolleson is putting plans in motion to redevelop its downtown into a destination location.

Last month, the City Council was presented with options for how its main thoroughfare, Van Buren Street, could look with a few improvements.

The preliminary plans span from 99th to 83rd avenues and include narrowing Van Buren, creating on-street parking, shade trees and art elements.

City has $6M in Seed Money

The project would cost an estimated $9.3 million, of which $6 million would come from bonds passed by voters about a decade ago. The rest would likely be paid for out of the city’s general budget, officials said.

Included in the cost is re-striping 99th to 96th avenues at an estimated $129,000 and 91st to 83rd avenues for $266,000, officials said.

City staff worked with the team of J2 Engineering and Environmental Design to get extensive input from downtown businesses, property owners and residents on what the street should portray.

“Ever since I-10 was completed, that sense of place has dwindled to a certain extent and fallen deeper and deeper into our memory,” City Manager Reyes Medrano Jr. said.

Multiple Stages

The recommended first stage would focus on streetscape enhancements from 91st to 96th avenues and include wider sidewalks, enhanced pedestrian and roadway lighting, site furnishings, entry monuments, pedestrian way finding, sidewalk vending kiosks and unique art elements.

The city’s already-wide street gives the design team a good starting point without requiring much construction, Project Manager Jeff Velasquez said.

Additionally, 740 parking spaces can be created on Van Buren and just north and south of the street.

Improvements would also include art elements through a partnership between Tolleson and the West Valley Arts Council. Youths in the Gallery 37 program helped create seven kiosks that would be placed throughout the city.

The project also includes a branding component for identifying and marketing the downtown. From input generated at meetings, the brand “Paseo de Luces,” or “Path of Lights,” was recommended.

Read more at WestValleyView