The coming year in Goodyear will be marked by the development of four major city projects, plenty more businesses coming to town and continued population growth.
“We had a booming year, and I think we’re going to have another booming year,” said Mayor Georgia Lord.
Goodyear is planning two new fire stations, a recreation center, a water treatment facility and a Civic Square, which will include a new City Hall, a new library, a two-acre park for festivals and retail and office space.
Goodyear will also form a citizen committee to review its charter — which is like the city’s constitution — in 2020, sending any recommended changes to the ballot in 2021.
Each of the planned city projects are at different stages. Fire Station 186, at Northeast Rainbow Valley and Willis roads, will be the first to be completed. It breaks ground in March and is scheduled to be completed by December. Fire Station 181, down the street from City Hall at 14370 W. Van Buren St., will be completed in 2021. In the meantime, a new fire crew for Fire Station 186, in the Estrella Mountain Ranch neighborhood, has already been hired and is working out of another nearby station. It will transition to the new station once its completed.
The Goodyear Recreation Campus, at Estrella Parkway and Goodyear Boulevard, broke ground in the fall and is planned to open in the summer of 2021. It will include a 30-acre park complete with baseball, softball and multipurpose fields; tennis, basketball, pickleball and sand volleyball courts; a playground, public art and plaza. It will also include a 48,000-square-foot recreation facility complete with multipurpose rooms, lockers and showers, fitness areas and an aquatic facility.
The new water treatment plant, at 4980 S. 157th Ave., also broke ground in the fall and is scheduled for completion by December 2021. The plant will provide for the city’s projected growth through at least 2045.
City Manager Julie Arendall noted that while a lot of residents might not believe they see personal benefit from new businesses like Nike or a distribution warehouse locating in Goodyear, staff is able to take the revenue from the construction sales tax of these projects and use it for one-time expenses like building these city projects without raising taxes.
“All of these fabulous projects, which are going to increase the quality of life of our residents, we’re able to do without increasing taxes because of the locates that we’ve received,” she said.
For the largest city project, 2020 will be a planning year. Groundbreaking for the Civic Square, at the northwest corner of McDowell Road and 150th Drive, is planned for April 2021. It’s expected to be fully completed by mid-2022, but the city aims to complete the center’s park in time for it to host part of the celebration of the city’s 75th anniversary on Nov. 21, 2021.
The current City Hall was purchased as an “interim city hall” in 2001, but somewhere along the line “interim” was dropped as plans for a new City Hall kept getting pushed back as other needs arose. The new City Hall, a four-story, 125,000-square-foot building, will not be temporary, Ms. Arendall said.
“Our goal is to build a building for the next 75 years. It’s not a temporary building. This will be something that will be here for generations,” she said.
While a final decision has not been made, the city will likely sell the current City Hall building once staff moves into the new one, Ms. Arendall said.
Ms. Lord noted the new library will be twice the size of the current one.
In addition to the public buildings, Civic Square will include a three-story, 100,000 square-foot office building built by Globe Corporation. This project is unique to Goodyear in that the office space is being built without a user. Ms. Arendall said this shows Globe has confidence in the community that users will come if it builds office space. She said most office users want existing office space, but Goodyear has had little to offer lately.
“I truly believe it’s an economic development game-changer for Goodyear, for the West Valley,” Ms. Arendall said.
Ms. Arendall and Ms. Lord were both confident the Globe office building would kick off other construction in the area.
On the east side of 150th Drive, across from the Civic Square site, Macerich is planning 11,000 square feet of retail space near the Harkins theaters and recently opened Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen.
“We’re starting to see development on the other side of 150th (Drive), and so we’re confident that as our project comes up, it’s really going to further activate the area,” Ms. Arendall said.
These new city amenities will be useful as Goodyear continues to grow. In the last half of 2019, Goodyear saw a 40% increase in single-family home permits.
Also important in 2020 will be quantifying that population growth through the census. Goodyear has grown a lot since the last census in 2010, increasing from 65,275 to an estimated 82,835 in 2018, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The only count that matters is the official count this spring, and residents need to ensure they’re counted to make sure Goodyear is properly represented in state and national government and to ensure it gets its fair-share of state-shared funds, which are distributed based on population.
“In a community that’s growing as quickly as we are in Goodyear — we’re growing at 3-4% a year — it’s important that we’re counted because in the state of Arizona, that’s how state-shared sales is distributed,” Ms. Arendall said. “So, to get our fair share and support our growing community, we have to have a fair count.”
Goodyear will examine its core document in 2020. During a City Council meeting Monday, Jan. 27, staff will ask Council to form a citizen committee to review the city charter. The committee will present any recommended changes to Council, which will decide if it wants to send those changes to the ballot, likely in Spring 2021.
Ms. Lord said the charter review process will also benefit the city to educate residents about what the charter is. She said there have been resident complaints or recommendations in the past that Council and staff would not be able to enact because they go against the charter.
“I do see some information has not been put out there that much over the years. So, I think that’s going to be healthy for the city,” Ms. Lord said.
Businesses continue to flood into Goodyear in 2020. Four new restaurants are opening by spring. Panera Bread, at Pebble Creek Parkway and I-10, and Cafe Rio, at Litchfield and McDowell roads, both opened earlier this month. The Buffalo Spot, at Litchfield and Indian School roads, is opening this month, and Yogi’s Grill, at Estrella Parkway and Van Buren Street, will open within a few months.
In health care, a new Estrella Women’s Health Care Center is planned to open in July or August at Estrella Parkway and Centerra Drive. The new location is about one mile south of the center’s old location.
In retail, a Dollar Self-Storage is opening this year at Cotton Lane and Indian School Road.
The biggest project planned for early 2020 is Ferrero Rocher warehouse on Cotton Lane near Indian School Road. The 640,000-square-foot warehouse will add 50 or more jobs to the city when it opens in the spring. The chocolate-maker also owns Tic Tac mints, Nutella, Kinder, Fannie May chocolates, Butterfinger, Crunch, Baby Ruth, Raisinets and other chocolate brands.
Ms. Lord said there’s an excitement among residents over how many new businesses are being added to town.
“I run into citizens every day and they say, ‘It’s so exciting. You wake up in the morning and there’s something new popping up some place’” she said.
Goodyear’s police department is in a state of upheaval after the city fired Police Chief Jerry Geier last month for misconduct. Three other department employees were also put on leave at the same time — though Susan Petty has since been demoted, Officer Kyle Cluff has resigned, and Deputy Chief Justin Hughes is on extended personal leave, according to city spokeswoman Tammy Vo. The allegations against the four have been deemed non-criminal and non-financial in nature.
Mr. Geier is appealing the termination and city staff cannot legally disclose the reason for the firing until the appeal is complete. After the appeal, all relevant records will become available for public review, Ms. Arendall said.
In the meantime, Santiago “Jimmy” Rodriguez has taken over as acting chief.
“He’s been with the department for a long time. He’s well-liked and well-respected within the department and also within the community,” Ms. Arendall said. “So, his leadership is strong and we appreciate his willingness to step up in this time of need for the city.”