Tempe’s iconic Mill Avenue is undergoing a $20 million renovation project

Public input is wanted for the $20 million renovation project.
Published: Aug. 8, 2023 at 8:48 AM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Tempe’s most iconic street is about to get a massive makeover! Work is expected to begin in the Spring on a refresh project that will improve sidewalks, add lighting, furnishings, public art and trees to a half-mile stretch of Mill Avenue from University to Rio Salado.

“The street hasn’t had a significant reinvestment in its infrastructure for over 40 years so that’s a big motivation for what we’re doing right now. We want to kind of restart, reset or refresh Mill Avenue,” Eric Iwersen, Tempe’s Sustainability and Resilience Director, said.

The project is expected to cost $20 million and will be paid for by the city’s general fund. Iwersen says the last time Mill Avenue had a major renovation was back in the 1980s.

“That’s when brick sidewalks and ficus trees were introduced. That’s been really successful for us, but it’s time to do a little bit of a refresh on that street,” Iwersen said.

The city is currently gathering input from the public on what type of sidewalk material they’d like to see used on Mill Avenue and what trees and plants should be put in.

“We’re introducing species of trees that maybe had not been historically used on Mill Avenue, but are responsive to and can be resilient to the extreme heat that we’re experiencing and being mindful of water conservation,” Iwersen said.

If you want to voice your opinions, the City of Tempe has two public meetings scheduled for Wednesday, August 9th. The first one is a virtual meeting at 12pm and the second one is an in-person meeting at 6pm at Tempe Public Library.

Iwersen says the city is looking to start construction as early as the Spring with the hope of having most of the work done by the end of next year.

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