The recent announcement that the Gila Indian River Community (GRIC) voted not to allow the proposed South Mountain Loop 202 Freeway from being built on tribal land, it is all but assured to be built in Ahwatukee.
As a former member of the freeway committee for 2 1/2 years representing the nearly 3,000 homeowners of the community of Lakewood, I still have concerns with a possible freeway in Ahwatukee. Lack of studies, incomplete data, old data and substandard reports given by the Arizona Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration and the Maricopa Association of Governments. And what about the risk of the schools backed up to the freeway site breathing diesel-truck exhaust? The lack of drainage studies of a possible 20-year flood, 50-year flood or 100-year flood and how will they affect the homes that will be backed up to the freeway. The possible loss of 600 homes, a church and underground wells needed for the two lakes in the Lakewood community and the cost could be as high as $3 to $4 billion at completion. Crime rate skyrockets with homes closer to freeways. Property values will go down next to freeways. Hazard material will be only feet from schools while truckers drive through Ahwatukee and bypassing Interstate 10 through Phoenix. This is a short list of the concerns I voiced at many of the committee meetings and still have those same concerns.
So what do we do as a community?
Vote for, and send, Phoenix City Councilman Sal DiCiccio back to City Hall on Aug. 27.
DiCiccio has been a strong voice for Ahwatukee, protecting the community from a possible freeway tearing up our community and he also has close ties with the GRIC. DiCiccio will continue to work with the GRIC to possibly encourage the Gila Nation to see the financial benefits a freeway would be for their community. With no voice, the freeway is all but certain to be built in Ahwatukee.
DiCiccio is not only a strong voice for Ahwatukee, but he has lived here for over 26 years. In Ahwatukee, DiCiccio helped get funds for Telegraph Pass, helped open the first senior center, helped early on with the chamber of commerce, raised money for an after-school program for a Lakewood school, and many more benefits for Ahwatukee residents.
Domestic violence is something DiCiccio has spent a lot of time focusing on by speaking for those who can’t speak for themselves. Taking on domestic violence shows the commitment this politician has choosing to take on a tough issue that’s in every community across our country. There is no easy step to end domestic violence, but knowing DiCiccio helped establish better protections for victims is to be commended.
DiCiccio has fought not to raise property taxes, along with no increase in sewer or water fees, are also a welcomed stance for many.
There is one way to protect Ahwatukee’s future, please join me in re-electing and voting for Phoenix City Councilman Sal DiCiccio on Aug. 27.
• Ahwatukee resident John D. Rodriguez is a community organizer and a licensed sports agent in Arizona. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or (602) 526-7512.