'Centennial Way' in downtown Phoenix will honor Arizona statehood

Posted on by az100

by Ginger Rough – May. 18, 2011 12:00 AM
The Arizona Republic

Gov. Jan Brewer and a host of other elected officials broke ground Tuesday on a $7.1 million streetscape-renovation project that will help beautify one of the major arterial streets connecting downtown to the Arizona Capitol by year’s end.

The project, on Washington Street between Central and 19th avenues, will be dubbed “Centennial Way” in honor of Arizona’s 100 years of statehood. The state’s official centennial is Feb. 14, 2012.

Plans call for that stretch of roadway to be “transformed” with wider, more-decorative sidewalks and crosswalks, enhanced street and pedestrian lighting, benches, shade canopies, bike lanes and displays that feature historical and cultural information about Arizona’s 15 counties.

It also will feature a “Tribal Walk” that pays homage to Arizona’s 22 Native American tribes.

The street-improvement project is being funded largely with a federal transportation grant, with the city of Phoenix picking up the remainder of the tab.

“This is a historic day for Arizona,” Brewer said at Tuesday’s event. “We are 272 days away from a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to celebrate Statehood Day.”

She added: “Centennial Way will be a noteworthy thoroughfare, leading to our state Capitol from downtown Phoenix. This is a legacy we can be proud of.”

Arizona officials had originally floated grandiose ideas of building a new state Capitol to commemorate the state’s centennial. The recent recession and an ongoing budget crisis forced those plans to be scaled back dramatically.

The Centennial Way streetscape project is now being called a “signature” part of the centennial; another is a new museum that will showcase the state’s history, with exhibits on the state’s Five C’s: copper, cotton, cattle, citrus and climate. There also are tree plantings and festivals planned in some of the state’s larger cities, including Phoenix and Tucson.

Arizona was the 48th state to join the union, entering on Feb. 14, 1912.

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