Plans have been announced for the building of a multi-use sports complex that will be built on a 36-acre spread in northwest Glendale in an area of new commercial and retail development.
The project is being spearheaded by the Glendale-based Mangat Group, which wants to see the project go up on land the firm purchased near Northern Avenue and Loop 101.
In a press release, it is noted that part of the site will be devoted to field hockey, “the first of its kind of Arizona.”
As envisioned, the project will also see the construction of sports fields for soccer as well as field tennis, with the complex facility itself expected to be large enough to seat up to 900 people.
Also included: a fully operational media center, several hotels, and restaurant space.
The project, soon to go through the zoning process, is expected to cost at least $50 million to complete. Construction could begin either later this year or early next year.
The Mangat Group is also currently developing a 16-acre truck stop in Black Canyon City in the central part of the state, with plans in the works for the construction of a gas station and several fast food restaurants in Tonopah in southwestern Arizona.
By Garry Boulard
President Joseph Biden is meeting with Congressional members of both parties in an effort to secure the passage of his historic $2.7 trillion infrastructure legislation.
In proposing his bill, the President said that he wanted to focus not only on the construction and upgrading of the nation’s roads, highways, and bridges, but also electric vehicle research, affordable housing, and broadband infrastructure.
“I am prepared to compromise, prepared to see what we can do, what we get together on,” Biden remarked to reporters before meeting with a group of lawmakers.
Some lawmakers have suggested that a more acceptable infrastructure plan would see the spending of up to $800 billion to be entirely focused on just infrastructure matters.
Texas Senator John Cornyn, in an appearance on the program Fox News Sunday, remarked: “There is a core infrastructure bill that we could pass with appropriate pay-fors like roads and bridges and even reaching out to broadband.”
“I think,” continued Cornyn, “that’s the part we can agree on.”
But Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski has said that even if a more targeted $800 billion infrastructure bill is ultimately presented in Congress, it would still be up to legislators to ask “How would we pare it down? How would we define it? How would we pay for it?”
Officially called the American Jobs Plan, Biden’s infrastructure bill includes $590 billion for job training and the modernization of supply chains; $50 billion for semiconductor manufacturing and research; and $20 billion for the establishment of regional innovation hubs, among other things.
New Mexico Senator Martin Heinrich has praised the proposal for including $5 billion in what is called a Rural Partnership Program. “This program will empower Tribal communities by supporting locally led planning and capacity building efforts and providing flexible funding to meet critical needs.”
According to the White House, the President’s legislative affairs team has made around 140 calls to Congressional members and their top staffers in recent days. Members of the President’s cabinet have also talked to more than two dozen members on the bill.
By Garry Boulard
Funding has now been approved for the construction of a new operations center for the Lower Rio Grande Public Water Works Authority.
Members of the New Mexico State Legislature earlier this winter voted in favor of a $1.2 million capital outlay for the project.
Now, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham has approved that appropriation.
The water works authority is one of dozens of projects in southern New Mexico that Grisham approved for funding. Altogether, capital outlays totaling more than $28 million have now received a green light for both Dona Ana County as well as southern New Mexico.
Among the larger appropriations: $3.1 million for the building of a Dona Ana County flood diversion project; as well as $3 million to repair a utility tunnel on the main Las Cruces campus of New Mexico State University.
The Mesilla Valley Community of Hope campus, also in Las Cruces, is set to receive $1.8 million to build a new warehouse; while $1.3 million is going for improvements to the Las Cruces Armory.
Just under $3 million is going for the construction of a sewer line extension on the Old Cavern Highway in Eddy County, along with $1.4 million targeting the renovation of the Carlsbad Bataan Sanitary Sewer Lift Station.
The Roswell campus of Eastern New Mexico University in Chaves County has been approved for $2.4 million for sewer line upgrades and other infrastructure improvements, with the New Mexico Junior College in Hobbs in getting $1.7 million for general safety and security improvements.
With offices in East Mesa and La Mesa, the Lower Rio Grande Public Water Works Authority provides water service to more than a dozen Colonias to the south of Las Cruces.
By Garry Boulard
A recreational center based in southeast Albuquerque that has provided boxing training for several generations of young people may be in line for an expansion.
Some $1.3 million in funds, part of a larger $60 million in pandemic relief money the City of Albuquerque has received from Washington, will target the expansion of the Jack Candelaria Community Center at 400 San Jose SE.
Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller has announced a series of facility projects to be funded by the federal monies, including energy efficiency updates and general building improvements to the Anderson-Abruzzo International Balloon Museum, as well as the Albuquerque Convention Center.
Also proposed by the Mayor: $1 million for lighting improvements throughout the downtown area, and exactly $900,000 for the building of a splash pad and other improvements at popular Tingley Beach.
Keller said the Albuquerque Rescue Plan, which still must win the approval of the city council, is designed to help bring the city back from the economic maelstrom of the pandemic and subsequent shutdown.
“Now, we can increase our support for local businesses and families, while creating good jobs with New Deal-style infrastructure investments,” he remarked.
The one-story Jack Candelaria Community Center was inaugurated in 1997 and was formerly known as the South San Jose Community Center. It also houses a game room and basketball gym.
By Garry Boulard
Move Underway to Prevent Project Labor Agreement Mandates in Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act
More than two dozen members of the U.S. House have signed a letter expressing support for what is called a “fair and open competitive bidding process,” as well as opposition to project labor agreement mandates.
The letter, sent to the leadership of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, comes as Congress contemplates legislation to reauthorize the massive Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act.
North Carolina Congressman Ted Budd has also submitted written testimony to the committee asking it to consider a bill he earlier introduced called the Fair and Open Competition Act.
The bill, said Budd, “prevents federal agencies and recipients of federal assistance from requiring contractors to sign controversial project labor agreements as a condition of winning a construction contract.”
By so doing, contends Budd, taxpayer-funded construction contracts will be “awarded through fair and open competition.”
The Fair and Open Competition Act has won the support of a number of industry groups, including the Associated Builders and Contractors, as well as the American Road and Transportation Builders Association, and the Construction Industry Roundtable.
Originally passed in December 2015 and signed into law by President Barack Obama, the $305 billion FAST Act was given a one-year, $13.6 billion extension last fall.
By Garry Boulard
Work on the new El Paso Mexican American Cultural Center could begin later this year, thanks to a vote of the El Paso City Council approving more than $141 million in general obligation bonds.
Of that amount, around $33.5 million is slated for street construction and upgrade projects; with a smaller $14.6 million going to the installation of new street lights.
Just over $10.5 million, meanwhile, will target “leveraged street projects.”
Most of the funding, at just over $103 million, is slated for community health, public safety and traffic safety projects.
A long-planned flat fields project at the Eastside Sports Complex, located at 14380 Montwood Drive, is receiving $5 million; while $2.6 million will fund repairs to the Leo Cancellare Aquatic Center at 650 Wallenberg Drive.
The Mexican American Cultural Center is set to be built at the site of the El Paso Main Library at 501 N. Oregon Street, and is now in the pre-design stage.
The council voted on the bonds after reviewing a capital improvement projects presentation detailing how the funding will be spent.
As detailed, the bonds will also fund the remodeling of five city fire stations, as well as the construction of the new Fire Department Station number 36.
According to a press release issued by the City of El Paso, the bond vote by the council is designed to take advantage of currently low interest rates.
By Garry Boulard
A mixed-use project is slated for construction on the east side of Mesa at the northwest intersection of Signal Butte Road and U.S. Route 60.
The project will go up within the boundaries of what is known as the Elliot Road Technology Center.
Expected to encompass around 15 acres in all, the project will also include some 95,000 square feet of retail space and a four-story hotel.
Indianapolis-based Thompson Thrift Retail Group, which purchased the property earlier this month for around $4.5 million, is the project developer.
In a statement, Chris Hake, a Thompson Thrift vice-president, remarked that the east Mesa area “continues to see strong growth as evidenced by the more than 800 recently announced residential units that will surround the site.”
Work is expected to begin on the site later this year, with the first phase of the project set for completion early next year. Altogether, Thompson Thrift expects to spend around $28 million to entirely develop the property.
Thompson Thrift focuses on retail and mixed-use projects across the country, with a particular focus on Arizona, as well as states throughout the Midwest and South, among other places.
By Garry Boulard
Even though the homebuilding industry remains hot, the overall construction industry is employing less workers today than it did a year ago.
That’s part of an analysis just released by the Associated General Contractors of America showing that construction job levels as of March were lower in 35 states than levels recorded in March 2020.
Meanwhile, prospects for an improved job picture within the industry, according to Ken Simonson, chief economist with the AGC, are complicated by a confluence of challenging factors.
“Nonresidential contractors are coping with a depleted list of projects, extreme cost increases, and unprecedented supply problems,” said Simonson, in a statement.
“These headwinds are likely to keep industry employment in many states below pandemic levels for months,” Simonson continued.
Despite the decline as seen through the prism of March 2020 to March 2021, the industry has enjoyed an incremental increase in jobs in the last two months.
Texas recorded a gain of 19,100 jobs from February to March of this year, followed by New York with 10,000 more jobs, and Minnesota with 7,900 new jobs.
Arizona construction jobs were up by nearly 2,000. Colorado saw a small decline of around 100 jobs, while New Mexico was off by some 200 jobs.
The states with the greatest February to March construction job losses include Nevada, seeing a decline of 1,300 jobs; Pennsylvania, off by 900 jobs; and Alabama with 500 fewer jobs.
By Garry Boulard
Despite the opposition of some property owners, the move to create a historic district in downtown El Paso is advancing.
The Texas Historical Commission has now submitted papers to the Washington-based National Park Service for its approval.
If at last finalized, the designation would allow for property owners to receive federal tax credits for renovations and upgrades to buildings within the district.
In submitting the documentation to the National Park Service, Mark Wolfe, a Texas State Historic Preservation Officer, said, “This is an extraordinarily important historic district, and we appreciate your consideration.”
While more than 120 property owners have opposed the historic district designation, arguing that it will impose a set of burdensome rules when it comes to renovation and upgrade projects, the proposal is also controversial because it would also include the Duranguito neighborhood as part of the district.
That neighborhood has been ground zero for the last 4 years in a battle between the City of El Paso and community activists. El Paso has wanted to demolish the neighborhood to make way for the construction of a multi-purpose arena, while opponents have said that because several structures in the neighborhood date to the 19th century, it should be preserved.
In submitting the request to the National Park Service for the historical district, the Texas Historical Commission also attached the written objections of the property owners, noting: “Because the number of owner objections constitute a majority of property owners, we request your determination whether or not the district is eligible for being in the National Register of Historic Places.”
As proposed, the district would be comprised of 143 acres containing 174 buildings. Many of those buildings, in the city’s Central Business District, are categorized as Art Deco structures, largely built in the 1920s and 30s.
By Garry Boulard
Funding has now been approved for road, bridge, recreation center, and school infrastructure projects across the state.
New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham has given her approval to upwards of $511 million in projects that include just under $5 million for the construction of a soccer and multi-use stadium in Albuquerque.
Dona Ana County is receiving $3.1 million for a flood diversion project; with nearly $15 million going for Navajo Nation projects in Bernalillo, Cibola, McKinley, San Juan, Sandoval, and Socorro counties.
The Roswell campus of Eastern New Mexico University is receiving more than $2.8 million in funding for half a dozen projects, including $2.4 million that will go for facility upgrades and improved sewer lines.
The projects, approved as House Bill 285 earlier this year by state lawmakers, include $61 million for water and wastewater projects, $53 million for road projects, $52 million for tribal projects, and $48 million for public safety projects.
Exercising her line-item authority, Grisham axed less than 2% of the legislation’s capital outlay allocations, contending, among other things, that such projects were not ready to proceed or were too small.
A news released issued by the Governor’s office stated that “Capital funds should be targeted toward well-considered and more significant projects, and not relatively small items.”
By Garry Boulard
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