Gilbert Edition - March 2021

GILBERT EDITION

VOLUME 3, ISSUE 7  MARCH 24APRIL 20, 2021

ONLINE AT

Spate of transportation projects, $515Mbond aimto address town’s growth

BY TOM BLODGETT A bevy of transportation projects in Gilbert, aimed at addressing the town’s rapid growth, is causing headaches for motorists. “Every time I try to get somewhere, I am trapped by road construction,” said Tina Wei- zel, who lives near Lindsay and Germann roads. “I have to reroute, and then I get trapped in another tangle of road construction.” However, Weizel said she is looking forward to the end result, and town ocials said they believe Gilbert residents will be rewarded with improved trac ow and safety. That volume of projects comes from the town’s continued growth and a queue of work to be done that has been backed up, sometimes by years, Gilbert ocials said. The town’s popula- tion grew 21.9% from 2010-19, according to U.S. Census Bureau data.

Gilbert had 25 active road construction projects the rst week of March. (Tom Blodgett/Community Impact Newspaper)

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Gilbert prepares to tackle recycling issues with pilot program, potential rate increase

Plastics Nos. 1 and 2 (water bottles and jugs)

BY TOM BLODGETT Gilbert soon will embark on changes to its recycling program aimed at keep- ing the service nancially viable as the market for recycled goods falls, town ocials said. The changes are twofold: simplify- ing what is collected and raising the environmental services fee on utility

bills, both residential and commercial. Sta said the town could begin a townwide pilot program with fewer recycled products as soon as May—a response to what the recycling market values and limiting the items taken to just those things. The fee increase, which likely would not happen until

Gilbert will start a townwide recycling program as soon as May 1 aimed at keeping collections to only goods for which there is still a market. That limits it to three types of items. All recycled items should be empty, clean and dry.

Aluminum and tin food and beverage containers

Flattened cardboard

Common recyclables not accepted: glass, old newsprint, paper, scrap metal, polystyrene (commonly Styrofoam), plastic bags

SOURCE: TOWN OF GILBERT COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

CONTINUED ON 13

Gilbert Public Schools facing $10Mbudget cut

L’ACADEMIE BAKING AND COOKING SCHOOL

ROCKY POINT SEAFOOD RESTAURANT

IMPACTS

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THIS ISSUE

ABOUT US

Owners John and Jennifer Garrett launched the rst edition of Community Impact Newspaper in 2005 with three full-time employees covering Round Rock and Pugerville, Texas. We have expanded our operations to include hundreds of employees, our own printing operation and over 30 hyperlocal editions across three states. Our circulation is over 2 million residential mailboxes, and it grows each month with new residents and developments.

HIGHLIGHTS FROMTHISMONTH

FROMAMY: Orange and white trac cones have been dotting a number of roads in Gilbert as the town works to address growth. As a resident of the south portion of the area with an oce near the Heritage District, it is impossible for me to get from the house to the oce without encountering signicant construction. Read our front-page story to learn why that is and what future plans look like. Amy Ellsworth, PUBLISHER

Community Impact Newspaper teams include general managers, editors, reporters, graphic designers, sales account executives and sales support, all immersed and invested in the communities they serve. Our mission is to build communities of informed citizens and thriving businesses through the collaboration of a passionate team. Our core values are Faith, Passion, Quality, Innovation and Integrity.

FROMTOM: Many of us grew up with recycling being drilled into us. It was the right thing to do to save the Earth. But the dynamics of recycling are changing with the markets for the things you put in your bin. Our front-page story looks at what you need to know as the town makes changes to the service so it can continue to oer it to residents. Tom Blodgett, EDITOR

Our purpose is to be a light for our readers, customers, partners and each other.

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BUSINESS &DINING Local business development news that aects you

TRANSPORTATION &DEVELOPMENT Regular updates on area projects to keep you in the know

SCHOOL, TOWN& COUNTY We attend area meetings to keep you informed

ART PRODUCTIONMANAGER Aubrey Galloway CORPORATE LEADERSHIP GROUP PUBLISHER Traci Rodriguez EXECUTIVE EDITOR Joe Warner CREATIVE DIRECTOR Derek Sullivan SALES &MARKETING DIRECTOR Tess Coverman CONTACT US 610 N. Gilbert Road, Ste. 205 Gilbert, AZ 85234 • 4804824880 PRESS RELEASES gilnews@communityimpact.com SUBSCRIPTIONS communityimpact.com/subscriptions © 2021 Community Impact Newspaper Co. All rights reserved. No reproduction of any portion of this issue is allowed without written permission from the publisher.

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GILBERT EDITION • MARCH 2021

RD.

IMPACTS

Businesses that have recently opened or are coming soon, relocating or expanding

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TOM BLODGETTCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

TOM BLODGETTCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

E. WARNER RD.

but there are no dine-in options for Flavortown Kitchen. Food can be ordered directly from the kitchen’s website or through food-delivery apps. http://guysavortownkitchen.com 3 Rooted Fitness opened March 1 as an appointment-based personal training gym at 81 S. McQueen Road, Ste. 101, Gil- bert. It specializes in pain management, dysfunction correction and strength 4 State 48 Tap House opened in March at 2218 E. Williams Field Road, Ste. 101, Gilbert, in the SanTan Village mall. The restaurant is an o-shoot of State 48 Brewery, one of six in the Valley. In addi- tion to its beers, it has a menu of burgers, sandwiches and wood-red pizzas, among other items. www.state48brewery.com COMING SOON 5 Bark Avenue Pet Supply anticipates opening in mid-April at 835 W. Warner Road, Ste. 111, Gilbert. It oers a variety of natural pet foods, including dry food; canned, frozen raw, dehydrated and freeze-dried diets; as well as toys, treats and supplements. 480-210-5610. https://barkavepet.com 6 EoS Fitness opened its enrollment center for a gym that it anticipates opening March 30 at 3025 S. Val Vista Drive, Gilbert. The facility will be 38,000 square feet. 480-531-1217. training. 480-364-7464. www.rootedtnessaz.com https://eostness.com/location/ gilbert-s-val-vista-dr-e-pecos-rd 7 Chandler Japanese restaurant Shimogamo will open a Gilbert location

at Williams Field Road and Santan Village Parkway, next to the SanTan Village shopping center, in spring 2022. The restaurant serves sushi, sashimi, rolls and Japanese Izakaya-style dishes. http://shimogamoaz.com 8 Top Fuel Espresso anticipates open- ing a new coee shop at Cooper and Gua- dalupe roads in Gilbert in winter 2021. It will oer classic and specialty coee drinks, blended cold coee drinks, energy drinks and teas. It will have drive-thru service. www.tfespresso.com 9 Texas-based Torchy’s Tacos plans to open its rst Arizona location in a Santan Village parcel planned north of the northwest corner of Williams Field Road and Santan Village Parkway. It serves Mexican street food-style tacos in dierent varieties. No opening date has been announced. https://torchystacos.com RELOCATIONS 10 The Core Institute relocated its oce March 4 to 3951 S. Mercy Road, Gil- bert. The orthopedic clinic and physical therapy center will be in Suite 204, and the spine center will be in Suite 101. The additional 20,000 square feet gives the orthopedic practice 11 more exam rooms and two more procedure rooms. 866-974-2673. https://thecoreinstitute.com 11 Goodwill moved from its Warner and Lindsay location to 1455 E. Warner Road, Gilbert, on Feb. 6. The proceeds from the thrift store and donations are used to provide no-cost career develop- ment, training, and education services to community members in Arizona who need

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E. HUNT HWY. NOWOPEN Mark and Lauren Johnston opened Cactus Country as a multidisciplinary indepen- dent design rm specializing in brand identity and illustration. The company has no brick-and-mortar location but started selling some of its own designs on

HUNT HWY. California-based chain purchases its ingredients from local farms and purvey- ors when possible and serves ve kinds of hamburgers, sandwiches, salads and breakfast. www.farmerboys.com/ gilbert-n-higley-rd 2 Guy Fieri’s Flavortown Kitchen launched a virtual kitchen operating from Gilbert in February. The delivery-only service oers a number of dishes created by the Food Network personality. The eatery is run from Brio Italian Grill at 2150 E. Williams Field Road, Ste. 118, Gilbert,

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merchandise online March 21. www.thisiscactuscountry.com

1 Farmer Boys opened its rst Arizona location March 1 in City Gate at 1535 N. Higley Road, Gilbert. The 40-year-old

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

TODO LIST

Late March-April events

COMPILED BY TOM BLODGETT

MARCH 24 THROUGHAPRIL 14 FREE LUNCHTIME CONCERTS IN THE PARK The town of Gilbert will host these concerts for four consecutive Wednesdays. The performers will be Star Alliance (March 24), Rylee Paige (March 31), Gavin Torel (April 7) and Notes with Neptune (April 14). 11 a.m.- 12:30 p.m. Free. Gilbert Regional Park, 3005 E. Queen Creek Road, Gilbert. 480-503-6200. www.gilbertaz.gov/concerts APRIL 01 THROUGHMAY 08 ‘THE RAINMAKER’ This comedy and romance production features Starbuck, a slick conman, who promises he can bring rain to a Midwest farmer’s drought ridden-land, and Lizzie, a plain farm girl, who is spellbound by his mystique and charm. 7:30 p.m. (Thu.-Sat.), 4 p.m. (Fri.-Sat.). $22.50 (ages 5-17 by pre-purchase), $40. Hale Centre Theatre. 480-497-1181. www.haletheatrearizona.com

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Bark Avenue Pet Supply

Shimogamo

TOM BLODGETTCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

ALEXA D’ANGELOCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

CLOSINGS 14 Fitness 1440 closed March 12 at 4658 S. Higley Road, Gilbert. The fran- chise of the national health club chain had a 10,000-square foot facility that had been a Desert Fitness before a Sept. 1 merger. www.tness1440.com 15 The Meeple’s Board Game Café closed Feb. 28 at 3821 E. Baseline Road, Ste. J-140, Gilbert. The establishment combined food with board game play. The café sold o its extensive board game library before closing. 16 Prickly Pear Paper closed Feb. 20 at Barnone, the maker’s community in Agritopia, at 3000 E. Ray Road, Bldg. 6, Ste. 104, Gilbert. The company sold pre- mium paper products and did letterpress printing and design work. https://shoppricklypear.com

assistance in landing employment. 480-398-7655. https://www.goodwillaz.org 12 Open Arms Care Center will move April 5 from 522 N. Gilbert Road, Stes. 103 and 107, Gilbert, to 925 N. McQueen Road, Ste. 105, Gilbert. It is a food bank and clothing closet for families in need. 480-539-0175. www.openarmscc.com NEWOWNERSHIP 13 Star Mail was purchased Jan. 15 and is being rebranded as OneSource Shipping & Printing . The family-owned business at 1496 N. Higley Road, Ste. 102, Gilbert, oers Fedex and USPS shipping, ngerprinting, notary services and mail- box rental, among other services. 480- 830-7827. facebook: OneSource Shipping & Printing AZ

MARCH 24 MAY 31

ART OF QUILTING

The 16th annual show from the HD South quilting group will focus on blue and white quilts. Nearly 75 quilts made by the group will be on display throughout the museum and can be viewed during museum hours. 9 a.m.-4 p.m. (Tue., Thu., Sat.). Free (with museum admission), $3 (children ages 5-12, $5 (age 60 and older), $6 (ages 13-

59). 480-926-1577. https://hdsouth.org

Find more or submit Gilbert events at communityimpact.com/event-calendar. Event organizers can submit local events online to be considered for the print edition. Submitting details for consideration does not guarantee publication.

HOMEDEPOT.COM/MYCABINETMAKEOVER 480-581-8298

Place portrait photo here

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GILBERT EDITION • MARCH 2021

E. GUADALUPE RD. TRANSPORTATIONUPDATES

COMPILED BY TOM BLODGETT

E. ELLIOT RD.

ONGOING PROJECTS 1 Lindsay/Loop 202 interchange construction An interchange at Lindsay Road and the Loop 202-Santan Freeway will be built to provide ac- cess and a frontage road on the freeway’s north side between Lindsay and Gilbert roads. Status: The Loop 202-Santan Freeway will have intermittent ramp closures and lane constric- tions. Lindsay was reduced to one lane in each direction starting March 9, lasting for the dura- tion of the project. Timeline: January 2021-March 2022 Cost: $18.15 million Funding sources: town of Gilbert bonds and funds, regional funds, developer contributions 2 Germann Road upgrades—Mustang Drive to Val Vista Drive Germann Road will be improved to major arterial roadway standards, including six lanes and raised medians. The project will also include Lindsay Road improvements between Loop 202-Santan Freeway and one-quarter-mile south of Germann. Status: No left turns will be allowed on Lindsay to Germann both northbound and southbound through March 31. Timeline: October 2020-January 2022 Cost: $27.43 million Funding sources: town bonds and funds, regional funds, developer contributions

3 Lago Boulevard sewer work The town is replacing about 1,800 linear feet of sewers in the Lago Estancia neighborhood, aecting trac as part of a larger project for relief sewers in town. Status: Trac will be restricted between Oak Street and Mystic Drive through late March. Timeline: February-March Cost: $7.53 million Funding source: town COMPLETED PROJECTS 4 Power and Pecos roads water line Lanes were aected as crews completed the water-distribution system in the Power and Pecos roads area, requiring the installation of approximately a linear mile of a 16-inch water line to connect existing service lines. This water line supports the growth and development of the surrounding areas and provides reliable pressure and supply as demands in the surround- ing area grow. Status: Trac control measures have been removed. Timeline: November-February Cost: $2.24 million Funding source: town water funds ALL INFORMATION ON THIS PAGE WAS UPDATED AS OF MARCH 18. NEWS OR QUESTIONS ABOUT THESE OR OTHER LOCAL TRANSPORTATION PROJECTS? EMAIL US AT GILNEWSCOMMUNITYIMPACT.COM.

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

TOWN&EDUCATION

News from Gilbert, Gilbert Public Schools, Higley USD & Chandler USD

COMPILED BY TOM BLODGETT

SCHOOLHIGHLIGHTS GILBERT PUBLIC SCHOOLS The district will move to an earlier start of its school year and add a week to its fall and spring breaks for the 2022-23 and 2023-24 school years. The governing board unanimously approved those changes at its Feb. 23 meeting. The new “2-2-2” calendar, representing two-week fall, winter and spring breaks, brings the district closer into alignment with neighboring districts Higley USD and Chandler USD. HIGLEY USD Graduations for Higley and Williams Field high schools will be held in the schools’ campus stadiums. The district’s high schools traditionally used Arizona State University’s Wells Fargo Arena, but ASU is not making it available this year. CHANDLER USD The governing board approved $3.6 million Feb. 25 to update the playgrounds at several elementary school sites, including $397,000 at Weinberg Gifted Academy in Gilbert.

District could see $10.22M budget cut for FY 202122 GILBERT PUBLIC SCHOOLS District ocials presented the governing board March 2 with a healthier revised budget for this scal year, but a projection for next year shows a large cut could be looming. Those diering forecasts came from Business Services Assistant Superintendent Bonnie Betz at the governing board’s study session and brief board business meeting. The second budget revision of the year brought main- tenance and operations, or M&O, to $260.52 million while unrestricted capital remained at $16.85 million. M&O pays for day-to-day operations, including salaries. The original adopted budget from June was for $258.7 million in M&O and $15.04 million in unrestricted capital. Betz said the dierence has come from a healthy budget balance carry forward; two rounds of grants from the federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief, or ESSER, fund; a state enrollment stabilization grant; and some recovery in enrollment numbers. However, as the district projected its budget for scal year 2021-22, the picture changed. Betz said the district could not count on the additional state and federal grants, and the district projects a further loss of about 400 students. The FY 2021-22 projection reduces the maintenance and operations budget $10.22 million to $250.3 million, Betz said, from the second revised budget for this scal year, while the unrestricted capital would slightly gain to $17.16 million. MAINTENANCE AND OPERATIONS BUDGET A school district’s maintenance and operations budget pays for day-to-day operations, including salaries. It is revised during the year as the budget picture grows clearer. FISCAL YEAR 202021

GPS considers closing Houston Elementary

GILBERT PUBLIC SCHOOLS The governing board studied at its March 2 meeting the eects of school changes for the fall that would close one school and move another into its campus. Under the proposal, intended to help the district manage enrollment in the western portion of the district, Houston Elementary School would close, and Neely Traditional Academy, which has no school boundaries, would move onto the Houston school campus. Additionally, Burk Elementary School’s boundary

would grow to encompass the current Houston boundary. The board could vote on the pro- posal at its March 30 board business meeting.

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MEETINGSWE COVER

Gilbert Town Council March 30, 6:30 p.m.

Homeowners alongWestern Canal ght to save backyards GILBERT Homeowners along the Western Canal met with Town Council on Feb. 25 hoping to work out a way to save their backyards from eminent domain, but no resolution was identied. Town sta said purchasing parts of the 24 prop- erties involved is necessary for infrastructure work that is needed on the sewer, water and wastewater lines under their property, which sta said is deteriorating and is vital to thousands of homes. The town is in the process of acquiring parts of the E. GUADALUPE RD.

April 6, 6:30 p.m. April 20, 6:30 p.m. 50 E. Civic Center Drive, Gilbert 480-503-6871 • www.gilbertaz.gov Gilbert Public Schools Board March 30, 6 p.m. April 13, 6 p.m. 140 S. Gilbert Road, Gilbert 480-497-3300 www.gilbertschools.net Higley USD Board April 7, 5 p.m. 2935 S. Recker Road, Gilbert 480-279-7000 • www.husd.org Chandler USD Board March 24, 7 p.m. April 14, 7 p.m. 1525 W. Frye Road, Chandler 480-812-7000 • www.cusd80.com Follow us on Twitter: @impactnews_gil

Adopted (June 2020)

$258.7M

Revised No. 1 (December 2020)

$252.94M

Revised No. 2 (March 2021)

$260.52M

backyards of 24 homeown- ers. Council unanimously approved the acquisitions Nov. 10.

FY 2021-22

PROJECTED

$250.3M

PROJECT AREA

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SOURCE: GILBERT PUBLIC SCHOOLSCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

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GILBERT EDITION • MARCH 2021

BUSINESS FEATURE L’Academie Baking and Cooking School Award-winning pastry chef uses his background in classes as way to give back to community L ’Academie Baking and Cooking School owner Dan Boman has been to the top of the baking

BY TOM BLODGETT

Abby, opened L’Academie. While school is in the business name, Boman said the space is not a classroom. He teaches more practical cooking than making showpieces he once did. “We don’t judge in here,” he said. “There’s no exams at the end of class. It’s a very lighthearted atmosphere. We crack jokes the entire time as best as I can. I have a lot of silly jokes. The mission is to let them have a good

world. A graduate of The Restaurant School in Philadelphia, Boman has worked as pastry chef at The Four Seasons Hotel in Philadelphia and four Atlantic City casinos, most recently for Trump Plaza. He has won competitions, such as Best Chocolate Showpiece at the National Team Pastry

The classes taught at L’Academie Baking and Cooking School, such as this Daddy and Me Pizza-making class, are meant to be fun—and practical—for the participants. (Photos by Tom Blodgett/Community Impact Newspaper)

time and to give them recipes that they can replicate at home.” Boman said the school quickly built up a loyal clientele after opening, which helped when the coronavirus pandemic

“I FOUND TEACHING VERY REWARDING, AND I THOUGHT TO MYSELF, ‘YOUKNOW, THIS JUSTMIGHT BE A CAREER.’” CHEF DAN BOMAN, OWNER

Championship in 2009, and awards such as Pastry Chef of the Year in 2017 from the American Culinary Foundation. But it was not until he left Atlantic City that he said he found what he was meant to do.

STAYING SAFE Here is how L’Academie Baking and Cooking School has managed pandemic protocols. • 10 maximum class size • 8 cooking/baking stations • Masks worn at all times • Hand washing at class start

forced the school to shut down for a couple months. To keep income owing and to stay in touch with clients, the business started oering curbside pickup of some of Boman’s creations, starting with croissants, which sold out. “I think that this pandemic has brought about a need for people to be able to cook at home and learn how to cook at home just because they’ve had to stay at home for so much time,” he said. “That sort of helped us in a way that more people want to learn how to cook and bake.”

Chef Dan Boman said he moved on to teaching when he felt he had achieved all he wanted as a pastry chef.

“My mission in life was to be able to give back what I learned over the years from various people who were very giving, were very open with their trade,” Boman said. “I was lucky to have met good people that taught me well and were very forthcoming. It’s hard to nd good people like that.” Thus, Boman accepted a position to teach at the now-closed Le Cordon Bleu in Scottsdale. He continues to teach today at Scottsdale Community College, and in 2019, he and his wife,

L’Academie Baking and Cooking School 3244 E. Guadalupe Road, Ste. 107, Gilbert 480-687-8888 www.lacademieschool.com Hours: Mon. 5-9:30 p.m.; Tue.-Fri. 9 a.m.-1 p.m., 5-9:30 p.m.; Sat. 9 a.m.-1 p.m.; closed Sun.

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

AUTHENTIC DECOR Much of the restaurant’s decor came from Mexico, such as the sh-shaped bases that this Parrillada Mar y Tierra platter ($39.99) comes in.

DINING FEATURE

Co-owners Jalon and Carolina Buckstead each have prior experience in restaurants. (Photos by Tom Blodgett/Community Impact Newspaper)

Rocky Point Seafood Restaurant Experiences along the way help owner make eatery authentic S outh Dakota may be 1,000 miles from the Mexican border, but that’s where Jalon Buckstead’s journey toward being owner of experience in the restaurant business, including as a manager, and hails originally from Sonora. She shares her husband’s love of seafood. It was a practicality that drove them to buying a restaurant. BY TOM BLODGETT

an authentic Mexican food restaurant started. Buckstead only arrived in Arizona at age 20 to get out of the cold. Now, he is a truck driver by trade. But Buckstead has picked up some handy things along the way that help make Rocky Point Seafood Restaurant work. One is his uency in Spanish, and he frequently uses it with waitresses and patrons alike. “I took it in high school,” he said. “In my opin- ion, it came really easy to me.” Second, he has a background in restaurants from back home. He started as a bus boy at a restaurant and “learned everything.” By age 17, the owner made him manager and would leave him to run it while he took o a month at a time. Third was a love of seafood, helped by frequent trips to Rocky Point, Mexico, as a single man. But Buckstead is no longer a single man, and that may be the nal key. He met his wife, Caro- lina, at a restaurant she worked at in Arizona. Carolina Buckstead has more than 15 years

“She was getting tired of where she worked, and I told her, ‘You either get a job with benets or you save up for your own place,’” he said. “We both liked this location, so we went ahead and got it.” Opening the restaurant in November 2019, the owners saw an opportunity with few “real, real authentic” Mexican seafood restaurants in the area, Buckstead said. They included a bar in which they are frequently adding new tequilas. COVID-19 hit shortly thereafter, and Buckstead has continued to drive trucks to see them through. He helps his wife manage the restaurant in the weeks when he is in town. The eatery has also been helped by a strong following in the local Latino community. “They always tell me, ‘Oh, I’m glad that you opened up here. I usually have to go to Mesa or to Phoenix to get this quality of Mexican seafood,’” Jalon Buckstead said. “Ever since we opened it, it was like, ‘I come here instead of having to drive another half an hour, 45 minutes.’”

Rocky Point SeafoodRestaurant 3107 S. Gilbert Road, Ste. 107, Gilbert 623-248-7855 https://rocky-point-seafood-restaurant.business.site Hours: Sun.-Thu. 9 a.m.-9 p.m., Fri.-Sat. 9 a.m.-11 p.m. The Toritos Con Queso ($13.99) is an appetizer that has banana peppers with cream cheese and shrimp wrapped in bacon.

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GILBERT EDITION • MARCH 2021

Tangled traffic Gilbert had 25 projects under construction in the rst week of March. That included projects from the capital improvement program, development and utilities. 60

Capital improvement projects Utilities Private developer projects Future capital improvement projects

guide planning for trac, among other transportation concerns, over the next 20 years. Transportation Planning Manager Chris Bridges said feedback from residential surveys has given clear direction to the town. “The No. 1 thing that the residents have come backwith—and it’s not even close—is maintaining our transporta- tion network,” he said. Projects alreadyunderway The town has funding in place for 15 street improvement projects worth $138.36 million for this scal year, which ends June 30, although not all projects will be completed this year. Those projects include the widening of Germann Road from Gilbert Road to Val Vista Drive, the widening of Val Vista from Appleby to Riggs roads and the completion of asphalt replacement on Val Vista from Baseline to Guada- lupe roads. Ocials concede there are a large number of projects, and much of it is a result of delays from previous years. Delays can include coordination with utilities or other jurisdictions, Town Engineer David Fabiano said. The costliest project under con- struction—the 2.5-mile widening of Val Vista fromAppleby to Riggs roads from two to six lanes—has been planned for a decade. “This project is one that’s literally been in the works and under design in one form or another for close to 10 years—and was originally developed and then delayed and put on a shelf for a while and then brought back out and re-invigorated,” Public Works Director Jessica Marlow said. The $34.28 million project broke ground in 2020 and is set to be nished in the fall, she said. Not all the road work is from the town, as privatedevelopers are respon- sible for putting in infrastructure to support their developments. Projects

FOURPROJECTS TOKNOW

E. BASELINE RD.

3

Here are four of the largest road construction projects under way or coming to Gilbert in the next few years. 1 Val Vista widening Val Vista Drive is being widened from two to six lanes to handle growth from south Gilbert and give better access to the remainder of town. • Timeline: March 2020-fall 2021 • Cost: $34.28 million • Funding sources: town, Maricopa Association of Governments, developer 2 Interchange at Loop 202 and Lindsay Road A freeway interchange is being built at Lindsay Road to give better freeway access to and from Gilbert’s Central Business District. It also will include Lindsay reconstruction. • Timeline: construction started in January, anticipated to last 13 months • Cost: $18.15 million • Funding sources: town, Maricopa Association of Governments 3 Val Vista Lakes improvements * Pavement and water lines in the Val Vista Lakes neighborhood are reaching the end of their life cycle and will be replaced. • Timeline: construction to be in four phases, funding anticipated to be made The project will build Ocotillo Road as a minor arterial from a quarter-mile east of Greeneld Road to Higley Road. The project includes crossings over the Queen Creek Wash, East Maricopa Floodway, Roosevelt Water Conservation District Canal and Chandler Heights Basin. • Timeline: if funding is available, construction is anticipated to start in 2023 and last two years available in 2022-25 • Cost: $48.2 million • Funding source: town 4 Ocotillo Bridge *

E. ELLIOT RD.

E. RAY RD.

E. WILLIAMS FIELD RD.

202

E. PECOS RD.

2

E. APPLEBY RD.

4

1

N

SOURCE: TOWN OF GILBERT COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

$515 million transportation and infra- structure bond in the fall. The town is spending the nal pro- ceeds of its $174 million street bond package from 2007, the last of four passed that decade, to complete cur- rent projects. In addition to bonds to fund future projects, the town is working on a transportation master plan that will

CONTINUED FROM 1

As many as 21 new projects—includ- ing improvements to Ocotillo Road, the Val Vista Lakes community and several major intersections—also could have funding come available as early as scal year 2021-22. However, the projects could grind to a halt next year if voters do not approve Gilbert’s

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

done all by mail. Bond facts

Gilbert Town Council anticipates putting a transportation and infrastructure bond before voters in the fall. The ballot will be

along the Val Vista widening are an example, as the town has coordinated with Tri Pointe Homes, which is build- ing in the area, to improve some of the roads along Val Vista, Development Services Director Kyle Mieras said. “The trick with the private develop- ment is they have to have the improve- ments done prior to opening their business or their subdivision or apart- ment complex or whatever, because those improvements are needed to handle that trac,” he said. “Anything adjacent to their development, they’re going to work with quickly to get that done so that they can open.” Private development can aect traf- c through town permits even when developers are not partnering with the town on a project. Marlow pointed to the number of projects up and down Val Vista at present, some of which are the town’s and others are private. Short-termfuture The town plans to fund 21 projects in its FY 2021-22 capital improvement plan, but ocials said those projects are waiting for funding to become available. “We have a large gap in time where we haven’t had the funding to start new projects and get them queued up

because our last bond askwas in 2007,” Marlow said. “We’ve been spending that money on our current projects, making sure we have all the funds in place for construction, but we haven’t had any funding available to us then to start designing these new projects. They’re all waiting for us to get our next source of funding.” That is the result of town coun- cil policy to have all money on hand before any work starts, ocials said. As even the smallest projects generally take at least three years to complete, the projects likely will be spread out over several years, Fabiano said. That makes November’s bond pack- age critical, Marlow said. If it were to fail, future projects would halt until another funding source, such as a dedicated transportation tax, could be implemented. Town ocials do not anticipate the bond will change the town’s secondary property tax rate from its current $0.99 per $100 assessed valuation. Without bond funds, only routine maintenance—like crack sealing— would take place, as that is largely funded through Gilbert’s allotted por- tion of the state’s Highway User Rev- enue Fund and Vehicle License Tax. The town received $16.4 million from

bond size $515M 40

Nov. 2 election date

approximate projects funded

SOURCE: TOWN OF GILBERTCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER $0.99 per $100 assessed value secondary property tax rate in town

0 change

to the rate from the bond

expected to go to council for approval in November. If approved, the docu- ment would help guide future town- wide transportation planning. Mieras said he believes the work on roads not only helps residents’ travel, but also the town’s economic development. “People are not going to drive places where trac is so congested that it stops,” he said. “People are not going to want to locate businesses where it’s too dicult to get to, or their workers can’t get to it, or the people they bring in can’t get to it. The better we can make our transportation system, the better we are all the way around.”

HURF and $10.5million in VLT in 2020, Budget Director Kelly Pfost said. Long-termfuture The town embarked last June on a transportation master plan, which acts as a 20-year planning guide. It com- pleted a public input process March 16. Residents were invited to take surveys about transportation and note where they would like to see work happen. Some of those suggestions could turn into street projects, Marlow said. The early feedback from residents indicated residents want the town to focus on safety, reducing conges- tion and improving trac operations, like trac signals and getting people through them faster, Bridges said. The plan—which also includes topics such as walking, biking and transit—is

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

Losing money Recycling

The town formerly made up to $500,000 annually from recycling but now is losing about $1 million, she said.

processing fees paid to recycling vendors

are higher than revenues from commodity sales to the buyers of recycled products. Gilbert shares the revenue of those sales with vendors Waste Management and United Fibers, averaging 55% for Gilbert and 45% for the vendors. The revenue is then applied against the town’s processing fee. Gilbert covers the remainder. The fees are per ton.

Heading to

“It’s denitely a service our residents are passionate about,” Public Works Direc- tor Jessica Marlow said. “They recycle. Our participation rate is very high, so we know that they want to be responsible and do the right thing. By making these modications, we’re just doing our best to balance the environmental responsibility with the At the root of the problem of recycling costs is the global recycling market, Environmental Services Manager Paul Montes said. China was the largest buyer of recycled goods, but in 2018 it started man- dating how much contamination it would accept in recycled goods it was buying. In recycling, contami- nation is material that is either not recyclable or has not been properly cleaned. Montes said the items collected for recycling had as much as 25%-50% contaminants, but China dropped what it would accept to 0.05%, which had a dra- matic eect on the market. China stopped accepting imported recycled goods altogether Jan. 1. nancial responsibility.” Recyclingmarket crashes “It really left everyone scrambling,” Montes said. “Where are they going to take their recycling material?” Local buyers still purchased paper for a while, but when they stopped doing so, paper no longer had a market of buyers willing to take it, Marlow said. Thus, paper has become cheaper to go the landll than to process for recycling. In response, Gilbert made cost-containment eorts on its end, Montes said, such as making collection routes more ecient. Another eort was to better educate residents onwhat items the townwould take, said Kelli Collins, environmental services programs and sustainability superintendent. Pilot program As those eorts proved to not be enough to stop the declining fund balances, the town ran a pilot program last fall in three neighborhoods—Morrison Ranch, Higley Groves and Cooley Station. In that program, the town asked residents to only recycle items for which there is still a viable market, Montes said. The only items recycled in the program were card- board, aluminum, tin, andNos. 1 and 2 plastics, which include milk jugs, water bottles, shampoo and deter- gent bottles. However, that leaves a lot of common plastics out, such as clamshell containers that takeout food is often packaged in, containers for items such as yogurt or cottage cheese, and squeeze bottles for condiments. Those all fall into plastic Nos. 3-7, for which there is little market, Collins said. “We see a lot of that, which is why the simplica- tion of the program will be so helpful,” she said. “If you say you’re only taking, you know, these four things, it’s less open to interpretation.” Audits from the pilot program fromAug. 31-Dec. 7 with the town’s two recycling vendors, Waste Man- agement and United Fibers, showed the pilot was successful in reducing contamination, Montes said. Contamination fell from 20.8% to 14.8%with United

With costs increasing and revenue decreasing, the town projects both its residential and commercial environmental services funds—covering trash collection, roll-o container services and recycling— will fall below the minimum fund balance, established by policy, in scal year 2021-22 at its current rates. Thus, the town will study a rate increase this year. Deficit

AVERAGECOMMODITY REVENUE SHARE AVERAGE PROCESSING FEE

 $87.35 $32.65 $54.70

AVERAGE LOSS

SOURCE: TOWN OF GILBERT COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

Fibers and from 20.6% to 6.2%with Waste Management.

Minimum fund balance: represents the minimum the town keeps on hand to cover three months of operations and a year of debt service

Fund balance: represents town’s cash on hand from operating the service

Council directed sta at its nancial retreat in Feb- ruary to expand the pilot program to run throughout the town. It could start as soon as May 1, Collins said, withGilbert’s digital teamcreating a campaign to edu- cate residents rst. “We’d really like to have a lot of our groundwork laid and our foundation so that residents have plenty of time to absorb it, get used to it, have a fewweeks to make a fewmistakes before we go live,” Collins said. Settingnewrates With processing fees rising and revenues falling with the markets, the town’s environmental services funds, which cover recycling and trash collection, are moving toward falling below the minimum fund bal- ance and even below zero in future years as the costs for providing the service surpass the revenues from it, Pfost said. “We’ve come to a point where the cost of services increase, and we need to be able to balance our rev- enue and expenditure to keep providing a service,” Pfost said. In an eort to delay a fee increase a few months at a time when the town is facing similar shortages in other funds, council came up with a plan to use some Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act dollars to bridge the gap as the environmental ser- vices enterprise fund goes under its minimum bal- ance, Pfost said. About $2.5 million would be used to bridge the gap in residential environmental services and $200,000 in commercial. Council did approve moving ahead with a rate study, which will look at howmuch money is needed and how that will be distributed over the services pro- vided, she said. Sta plans to present a notice to increase rates with council in December, which starts the public process, Pfost said. Any increase would start in April 2022. Marlow estimated the increase could be something like $4 or $4.50 from the $14.80 currently paid on Gil- bert utility bills, but the study will show the actual increase. Commercial rates are on a sliding scale. “Gilbert’s rates are pretty low, so it’ll be a good per- centage, but a small dollar amount,” Pfost said.

RESIDENTIAL ENVIRONMENTAL SERVICES

$10M

$5M

$1.05M recycling revenue losses in 2020

0

-$5M

-$10M

-$15M

-$20M

COMMERCIAL ENVIRONMENTAL SERVICES

$1M

$0.5M

0

-$0.5M

-$1M

SOURCE: TOWN OF GILBERTCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

CONTINUED FROM 1

next spring, is being studied for a possible recommen- dation to Town Council at year’s end, sta said. Both actions are being taken to keep the town’s environmental services enterprise funds from fall- ing below the town’s minimum fund balances of $4.1 million for the residential fund and $600,000 for the commercial fund, Budget Director Kelly Pfost said.

For more information, visit communityimpact.com .

13

GILBERT EDITION • MARCH 2021

REAL ESTATE

Data provided by Debbie Jennings • Realty One Group 602-550-4958 • www.DebSellsAZ.com

Featured neighborhood

STRATLAND SHADOWS, 85297 Construction began on the upscale community in 2008 in south Gilbert near Higley and Germann roads. Median home value $699,000

MARKET DATA FOR FEBRUARY

60

85234

NUMBER OF HOMES ON THEMARKET 2020 2021

NUMBER OF HOMES UNDER CONTRACT 2020 2021 73 65 94 88 120 86 95 86

85233

85296

87

35

6

85233

85233

85295

42 40 48 22 44 25 49 11 73 22

85234

85234

202

85297

85295

85295

Homes on the market* 0 Homes under contract* 0 Median annual property taxes $4,627

85298

85296

85296

51

97

85297

85297

N

110 102

85298

85298

Amenities: large common area with playground, ramada and basketball court; close to Gilbert Regional Park Build-out year: 2014 Builders: Taylor Morrison, K. Hovanian Square footage: 2,938-4,042 Home values: $525,000-$870,000 Annual HOA dues: $1,260 Schools: Coronado Elementary School, Cooley Middle School, Williams Field High School Average property tax (per $100 assessed valuation): $11.8762

MEDIAN PRICE OF HOMES SOLD WITHYEAROVERYEARPERCENTAGE CHANGE

2020 2021

85233

85234 85295

85296 85297 85298

$600,000 Sale price

Median price per square foot $173.17 Average days on the market* 57

+25.2%

$550,000

+23.9%

$500,000

+19.7%

+21.8%

$450,000

+20.6%

+8.8%

$400,000

$350,000

*AS OF MARCH 1

$300,000

NEIGHBORHOOD DATA PROVIDED BY DEBBIE JENNINGS REALTY ONE GROUP  6025504958 WWW.DEBSELLSAZ.COM

$250,000

$0

Williams Field Rd.

Barrett Financial Group, LLC; AZ MB-0904774; NMLS #181106; www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org; 2314 S Val Vista Drive, Suite 201, Gilbert, AZ 85295.

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GILBERT EDITION • MARCH 2021

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