Mesa pushing for more economic development, jobs after strong 2012

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By Andrew Michalscheck By Andrew Michalscheck

MESA, Ariz. -- The lunch rush at Cucina Di Vita in Mesa can get pretty crowded, but the owners only wish it would be more consistent.

"Right now, it's a struggle, although it's exciting, we love it a lot," said owner Mark Lobdell.

His small business is in downtown Mesa. They flipped for the location, but in this economy, keeping things afloat is hard work. But by plugging along, the Cucina could be poised for greatness, right along with the rest of the city.

Thursday morning, Mayor Scott Smith delivered his State of the City address. He looked toward 2013 as a year for economic and job growth, on the heels of a big 2012.

Some 1.4 million passengers passed through Phoenix Mesa Gateway Airport, and two new airlines, Frontier and Spirit, came to be a part of it.

As if that expansion wasn't enough, leaders broke ground for the new Chicago Cubs spring training facility. The Valley's light rail system will also be adding 3.1 miles of light rail right through the heart of Downtown Mesa.

The downside is these big projects take years, but businesses like the Italian deli are willing to wait in hopes that it's worth it for the entire community.

"We haven't seen the rewards yet but we do believe they're out there and are going to happen," said Lobdell.