By Parker Leavitt The Republic | azcentral.comTue Mar 11, 2014 12:52 PM
Gilbert’s largest land purchase in five years won approval from the Town Council last week, allowing officials to proceed with the $3.6 million acquisition of an 11-acre field in the downtown Heritage District.
The council on March 6 voted 5-2 in favor of buying downtown Gilbert’s largest remaining vacant parcel, located at the southwestern corner of Gilbert Road and Juniper Avenue.
The lot, which wraps around Burger King and stretches south to the Western Powerline Trail, is one of the first sights to greet visitors entering historical Gilbert from the north.
Gilbert Economic Development Director Dan Henderson said the property owners approached the town with a desire to sell, and officials believe it presents a “strategic” opportunity for economic development as a gateway piece of the downtown redevelopment zone.
“Having control of that piece of property for the betterment of our community is critical,” Vice Mayor Eddie Cook said. He was joined by Mayor John Lewis and council members Jenn Daniels, Ben Cooper and Jordan Ray in voting for the deal.
Councilmen Victor Petersen and Jared Taylor cast dissenting votes after expressing concern over the perceived lack of a specific vision or reason to buy the land.
“I do think there’s a lack of trust in the private market to make the best use of this site,” Petersen said. “I think that’s ironic because history has shown that free markets work much better than centrally controlled and planned economies.”
Read the rest of the article