Sal DiCiccio has lived in Ahwatukee for 34 years. He grew up here, riding dirt bikes in the desert and cruising the streets in his first car, a used Ford Pinto with no air-conditioning that he bought with money earned from his paper route.
It's easy to forget the impact that one person can have. But if you want to know what someone is going to do, look at what they've already done. For those of us who know and love Ahwatukee, there is only one choice in the upcoming council election: Sal DiCiccio.
Sal has a proven history of delivering results for our community, just like those newspapers he landed on doorsteps decades ago. There are few difficult community problems he has not helped solve.
The opening of the new Chandler Boulevard extension just a couple weeks ago is a great example of Sal's leadership: he worked tirelessly alongside the planning committee, neighborhood associations and neighborhood groups to significantly improve the project.
Our area’s regional planning agency sought to provide us the least expensive road possible, a design so lacking and unsafe they had not built one similar anywhere else in our 516-square-mile city. Sal fought them. The end result was the road builders providing us with a safe design.
North of the Chandler Blvd extension are 234 acres of open space, protected into perpetuity from development, that Sal helped the City buy from the State Land Department. Some sought to transfer housing units slated for that newly preserved land to the south side of Chandler Boulevard.
Not this time. Those units were retired, which means less density. We value open space in Ahwatukee, and Sal has fought for it and will always fight for it when the community demands it.
When Ahwatukee got our first police substation, Sal was there, leading the charge. The same was true of our first senior center on 48th and Elliott, which Sal helped get donated to the community.
Now we have our own fully developed Senior Center and Police Substation at Pecos Park which happens to be one of the parks for which Sal helped to gather initial funding.
Mountain Vista Park was just dirt until he and other community leaders found the money.
These things are just the beginning, there's much more that Sal has done for our community….
If you like to hike in our mountain parks, Sal is – four or five days a week – right there with you. That's why many years ago, he worked with community leaders to create Telegraph Pass, get the land donated to the city of Phoenix, and is now helping oversee the installation of new ramadas, bathrooms, and improved parking.
Sal also put the team together that founded Pecos Park and spearheaded Phoenix's investment - $25 million – in South Mountain Park.
And if you’re a cyclist, well, Sal doesn't do that. But he's still right there with you. As recently as couple years ago, the freeway design eliminated a valuable element to the road-biking experience in Ahwatukee – Pecos Road.
Alongside the Coalition of Arizona Bicyclists and the Pecos Action Group, Sal fought that fight too. The result will be a path south of the freeway that will not fully replace the Pecos experience, but at least retains some element of it – namely a long stretch of straight path where moderate speed can be achieved.
Sal was also instrumental in working with local leaders to solve the water crisis at The Foothills. And right now, Sal is leading once again, this time working to solve the water problem at Club West and to restore the golf course (and, some believe, the surrounding homeowners' property values) which the course operator has allowed to fall into disrepair.
Most do not realize that, at one time, our community was slated to have thousands of additional high-density apartment units. But we don't, because Sal has consistently fought to protect our quality of life – doing everything from fighting inappropriate development to laying out a plan that will see a significant number of streets in Ahwatukee repaved over the next three years.
None of these accomplishments happened overnight. They all required a dedication to our community and a dedication to getting things done.
And that Ford Pinto? Well, it eventually went into the junkyard at 48th & Ray, at least until Sal got around to helping us replace the junkyard with a new AMC movie theatre we all enjoy today.
Sal DiCiccio is one of us. That's why I'm urging everyone to support Sal because judging by the things he's done for us already, the best is yet to come
-Chad Blostone chairs the Ahwatukee-Foothills Village Planning Committee.