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Mesa: Recreation

Mesa: Recreation

Sightseeing

A tour of Mesa might best be started at the very beginning, at the Park of the Canals near the intersection of McKellips Road and Horne Street north of the downtown area. Visitors can see the innovative irrigation systems established by the original Hohokam Indian residents of Mesa, with the effectiveness of the canals demonstrated by the Brinton Desert Botanical Garden at the same location. The Botanical Garden hosts special events in season, along with desert gardening workshops and concerts in what can be a surreal setting. The Salt River is just northwest from the Park of the Canals, making for a water-themed day in the desert.

On the way back to Mesa's town center, it's an easy stop at the former Lehi School, circa 1913, which now houses the Mesa Historical Museum and provides snapshots into the lives of early settlers of the communities that have blended to form modern Mesa. The historic downtown section of Mesa features attractions ranging from the Wild West era to modern arcades. The Ellis-Johnson home, the Alhambra Hotel, the Vance Auditorium and the former Southside Hospital all echo back to the beginnings of Mesa. The Mesa Southwest Museum provides scholarly, scientific, and fun background for sites visited in the city and beyond.

Immediately east of the original Mesa town site is the Temple Historic District, encompassing two residential divisions. Homes from the early 1920s line streets that were named for the Mormon pioneers who helped shape present-day Mesa and who laid the foundations for the Arizona Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints built in 1927. The temple is open for tours.

From Mesa, visitors and history buffs can embark on sightseeing adventures such as the Apache Trail Jeep Tour, which follows the stagecoach and freight wagon route from Mesa to Globe through the Superstition Mountains. Somewhere in those mountains, the Lost Dutchman Mine waits to be found again. The Goldfield Ghost Town resurrects its history as a thriving mining community that bit the dust when the mine petered out. At its height, there were three saloons, a boarding house, a general store, blacksmith shop, brewery, schoolhouse, and bordello. Along the finger of the Sonoran Desert that points across the East Valley, a smorgasbord of desert succulents can be encountered: saguaro, prickly pear, varieties of cholla, hedgehog cactus, and ocotillos. When the mountains and desert become too dry, visitors can head northeast to Saguaro Lake for a paddleboat excursion on the Desert Belle past canyon walls and Arizona wildlife.

Arts and Culture

The new Mesa Arts Center, expected to open in 2005, is the largest arts center in Arizona at 212,775 square feet of space for performing arts facilities, visual arts galleries and studios, and art education classrooms. The outside of the complex is as inviting as the inside, with a design reflective of the surrounding Sonoran Desert in hue, shape and landscaping. A 700-foot Shadow Walk serves as a cool outdoor plaza for events or relaxing during a tour. Located in the heart of downtown Mesa, the Arts Center campus contains three buildings, including a four-theater complex. The theater spaces are: the 1,588-seat Tom and Janet Ikeda Theater; the 550-seat Virginia G. Piper Repertory Theater; the 200-seat Nesbitt/Elliott Playhouse; and the 98-seat Anita Cox Farnsworth Studio Theater. The other facilities on the Arts Center campus are the Mesa Contemporary Arts Building and the Art Studios' classrooms and work areas.

Ballet Etudes will eventually be housed within the Mesa Arts Center, offering serious ballet performers an experience akin to a professional dance company. Ballet Etudes stages "The Nutcracker" annually, along with a Spring Repertory performance. The dancers have performed with the Mesa Symphony Orchestra, soon also to be located under the Arts Center roof. Besides its five scheduled orchestral performances each season, the Mesa Symphony Orchestra does outreach in the public schools and provides vouchers that allow students and their families to attend future performances at a reduced rate. The Metropolitan Youth Symphony involves 275 excellent young musicians in a minimum of three concerts each season, providing a professional-level experience for aspiring performers. The Sonoran Desert Chorale's 56 vocalists present four major concerts each season, with selections ranging from the classical to the Broadway stage.

Billed as "theatre for children by children," the East Valley Children's Theatre encourages creativity, self-confidence, and expression through community theatrical performances. The company puts on three productions each season, along with a host of workshops and classes for youth between the ages of 8 and 18. Also offering three plays per season is the Southwest Shakespeare Company, which strives to bring classical theater to the masses through dynamic live performances. The actors are able to share their appreciation for the Bard via student matinees, post-show seminars, and play introductions. For theater along with edible fare, the Broadway Palm West Dinner Theatre is recommended.

At the Arizona Museum for Youth, exhibits are tailored for young children to 12-year-olds, although adults will also enjoy the explanatory and interactive displays. Tours, opportunities to contribute to masterpieces, art classes, and workshops all happen at this fun and stimulating site located at Robson and Pepper streets.

Housed in the original 1913 Lehi Schoolhouse, the Mesa Historical Museum contains a wealth of artifacts donated by Mesa's pioneer families and linked to the city's colorful past. Also on the grounds is the Settler's Adobe House, reconstructed in the scale and manner of the first permanent homes as the new residents attempted to deal with life in the desert heat.

The natural and cultural histories of Mesa and its environs are the focus of the Mesa Southwest Museum. A $4.5 million expansion in 1996 brought the museum to its current size of 80,000 square feet, and another $4.5 million funded new exhibits for the expanded area. Collections include Spanish Colonial relics, artifacts of mining, reflections of Arizona's role in World War II (including Japanese relocation camps), Hohokam ceramics and jewelry, and evidence of Arizona's former function as ocean floor. The museum's Archaeology Team has several active excavations that are open to the public.

Arts and Culture Information: Mesa Arts Center, 1 East Main Street, PO Box 1466, Mesa, AZ 85211-1466; telephone (480)644-6501

Festivals and Holidays

The desert heat in summer dictates that festivals and outdoor events in Mesa are concentrated in winter, spring and fall months with a bit of a summer siesta in between. The year kicks off in January with the Martin Luther King, Jr., Festival, where the civil rights pioneer is feted with music, food, and carnival rides. In February, Mesa joins forces with Phoenix and other East Valley communities to put on the Blues Blast at the Mesa Amphitheatre. National and local blues artists perform a day-long concert that gets central Arizona in the groove. In mid-March, the Old World Folk Music Festival celebrates centuries-old indigenous music from a variety of cultures. From March through April, Free Community Concerts are performed, including a family series with puppetry and theater as well as the Courtyard Series on Thursday nights.

Cinco de Mayo festivities start May off, with a two-day cultural fiesta in Pioneer Park. For 45 years, Mesa has held a Fourth of July party; the Mesa Symphony Orchestra typically provides a rousing rendition of "The Star Spangled Banner." The United Mesa Firefighter Charities usher in cooler weather in September with the Annual Firefighters Benefit Bash. Live music, auctions and raffles all collect proceeds that benefit firefighters and their families during difficult times. Later in September, Mesa honors its history during the Annual Constitution Celebration, featuring a parade, picnics and music.

Native American art, culture, music, dancing, and food are the focus of the Mesa Pow Wow in late October. Elaborate native dress and dance competitions attract visitors from many tribes and states. From November through April, art takes to the streets with Mesa's Sculptures in the Streets program, during which the public can stroll through temporary sculpture displays along downtown Main Street. In December, Main Street is again the destination for holiday celebrations in the downtown area. Mesa's Merry Main Street decks the halls with lights, gingerbread houses, tempting wrapped packages and a visit by Santa.

Sports for the Spectator

The Chicago Cubs get ready for baseball season at Mesa's own Hohokam Field. In 2004, baseball fans at Hohokam Field broke attendance records for Major League Baseball Spring Training. The Cactus League gets started in early March and wraps the Spring Training season up in approximately a month. Locals and visitors get the opportunity to preview not just the Cubs but also their impressive roster of opponents, including the Colorado Rockies, San Diego Padres, and the Oakland A's.

Baseball doesn't end in March, thoughMesa and Hohokam Field are also hosts to Golden League and Fall League baseball. The Golden League subsidizes professional independent teams in Arizona and California at present; the Mesa Miners play ball from May through August. In October and November, Fall League baseball picks up the slack, with the Mesa Solar Sox providing a preview of the next generation of Major League Baseball players.

Mesa Community College's Thunderbirds compete in a variety of sports at the National Junior College Athletic Association level, with teams in baseball, basketball, football, soccer, and track. Phoenix offers more professional and collegiate sports options, from the Cardinals football team to the Suns basketball program to the Diamondbacks baseball organization.

Sports for the Participant

The name of the game in Mesa is golflocal courses abound and a short drive provides access to even more holes stunningly situated in desert and mountain terrain. Local courses in Mesa include Fiesta Lakes Golf Club (public; 9 holes), Royal Palms Golf Course (public; 9 holes), Augusta Ranch Golf Club (private; 18 holes), Las Sendas Golf Club (public; 18 holes), and Superstition Springs Golf Club (9 holes), just to name a few. Toka Sticks Golf Course on the grounds of the Williams Gateway Airport offers the unique opportunity to fly in, play 18 holes and fly out again. Mountain Brook Golf Club is located outside of Mesa but is set in the desert just below the Superstition Mountains, making it a dramatic experience for the golfer.

The Gene Autry Sports Complex contains tennis courts, indoor volleyball courts and beach volleyball pits. Lessons are offered, and players can join leagues or drop in on specified days.

Mesa may be in the desert, but watersports are still available. Rafting and tubing on the Salt River are popular summertime thrills, while local lakes like Saguaro are typically good spots for anglers to try for walleye, largemouth and brown trout, bluegills, channel catfish, and crappie.

The Superstition Mountains east of Mesa offer hikes of all levels of difficulty and duration, including the 1.5 mile Massacre Grounds trail, the Peralta Trail to the Fremont Saddle, and the steep Siphon Draw trail. The Tonto National Forest to the north of Phoenix and Mesa is the fifth largest forest in the United States, providing opportunities for a range of outdoor activities such as hiking, rock climbing, and camping. For a classic hiking adventure, trekkers can head north to the Grand Canyon.

Shopping and Dining

The Mesa Market Place Swap Meet covers 55 acres with more than 1,600 booths under a canopy to give an outdoor shopping experience with shade and water misters to keep customers cool. The Swap Meet is open year-round with great bargains and unusual merchandise. Antiques and collectibles are often found among the shops in the historic downtown area of Mesa, while more recognizable stores can be encountered at the Fiesta Mall, Superstition Springs Center, and The Village Square at Dana Park. Mesa holds a Community Farmers Market downtown all year, with vendors providing fresh produce and other goods in a street fair atmosphere.

As might be expected, Mesa's culinary specialty is Mexican-Southwestern food, with burgers and pizza coming in second and third. There's something for every taste, though, in Mesa's menu of Chinese, Japanese, sushi, Italian, Greek, steak, and homestyle eateries. Local and chain coffee shops abound, as well.

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Mesa: Economy

Mesa: Economy

Major Industries and Commercial Activity

The arid, warm climate of Mesa has made it a top-flight locale for aeronautical industries that range from manufacturing to educational. Boeing maintains a facility at Falcon Field Airport where flight control panels are created, tested, and installed in freighters. The Mesa plant was the site of the development of the Apache Longbow helicopter during the 1990s and continues to research and develop military aeronautical equipment. Boeing Training Services and Systems not only equips pilots with the latest knowledge in flight but puts together training packages that can be administered to prospective pilots in other locations.

The local airports host a number of aviation training businesses, including Arizona Aviation, Eagle's Roost Aviation Services, and Professional Flight Instruction. Airplane and helicopter medical transport, maintenance, and tour operations range from Airevac Services to Eagle Rescue.

TRW Vehicle Safety Systems, Inc., is the subsidiary of a Fortune 500 company and stands at the head of Mesa manufacturers. The plant produces vehicle restraint systems and other safety equipment, which is sold to automakers from around the world. TRW has been on the leading edge of safety system integration of restraint belts, air bags, crash sensors, and steering wheel technologies. Some of those restraint and safety systems might find their way into the heavy machinery and large vehicles produced by Empire Southwest Machinery in Mesa, where buses and caterpillars are researched and refined. The Empire Regional Training Center offers classes in machinery management, maintenance and repair as well.

The technology of golf has evolved into a thriving industry in Mesa. A sophisticated golf driving range and PING Swing Analysis Lab at Arizona State University East supports not only the golf-related majors at the college but also serves the community in perfecting its game.

Items and goods produced: aeronautical equipment, military equipment, vehicles, vehicle safety systems

Incentive ProgramsNew and Existing Companies

Local programs

Local business development assistance is available through the Neighborhood Economic Development Corporation (NEDCO), a partnership between the public and private sectors in support of community development and community reinvestment. NEDCO oversees the Business Development Loan Program, along with Individual Development Accounts that stimulate the creation of small businesses. Funding support comes from joint ventures between NEDCO and its partner financial institutions, as well as New Markets Tax Credit and private social investment dollars. NEDCO's Mesa Grande Commercial Revitalization Program works hand in hand with low income neighborhood groups to further development of cooperative housing and microenterprises.

State programs

The State of Arizona encourages businesses to invest in areas with higher poverty and/or unemployment rates through its Enterprise Zone Program, which provides income or premium tax credits along with property tax benefits. Construction of industrial and manufacturing facilities is supported via the state Private Activity Bond program. New businesses at the Williams Gateway Airport in Mesa can take advantage of the state Military Reuse Zone program, established in 1992 to lessen the economic impact of military base closures. Businesses sited at the former Williams Air Force Base can benefit from property reclassification, tax credits and transaction privilege tax exemptions.

Williams Gateway Airport also lies within a Foreign Trade Zone, an area that is essentially treated as if it were outside of U.S. Custom Territory. This allows for imported goods to be stored in the zone duty-free and without full customs formalities. Foreign Trade Zones additionally allow businesses to realize significant real and personal property tax reductions.

Other State of Arizona business incentive programs include tax credits for research and development, pollution control, and information technology training. The state also offers a Waste Reduction Assistance Program to new and existing businesses.

Job training programs

The Neighborhood Economic Development Corporation (NEDCO) offers technical assistance and workforce training as part of its services locally. Maricopa Workforce Connections is a county branch of the state workforce development office, serving Maricopa County businesses and job seekers. Employers can access recruitment, screening, job matching, corporate restructuring, and job training services, while county residents in search of employment can tap into education and job training opportunities, career planning services, vocational counseling, specialized support services, job placement, and a national job database. The State of Arizona also operates the Arizona Job Training Program to tailor training plans to the evolving industry landscape. The Arizona Apprenticeship System maintains more than 100 registered apprenticeship opportunities that pair education with on-the-job training. The state's job workforce development programs are underscored by job training and hiring tax credits for companies providing specialized training or hiring employees in a targeted group.

Development Projects

The state of Arizona is experiencing exponential growth, as exemplified by Mesa's population and industry leaps over the past 20 years; this has spurred the state to institute "Growing Smarter" legislation in reference to municipal planning efforts. The city of Mesa's priority work plan for 2004-2005 demonstrates this careful approach as it lays out development strategies for the Williams Gateway Airport area, including recruitment of a new passenger airline, expansion of cargo services with a new 25,000 square foot cargo storage facility, and improvements to roads and utilities that make Williams Gateway a more attractive business destination. The city has been in negotiations with Cessna as a new Williams Gateway business, holding out as a carrot the great weather, skilled local workforce and business incentives available.

Looking even farther into the future, the "Mesa 2025" strategic plan has identified areas of focus for economic development for the next 20 years, including the 4,560 acres that comprise the Falcon Field Airport corridor (business park and industrial usage), the Town Center/Main Street corridor (light rail, other rapid transit, business development, historical, and cultural development), and the Santan Freeway corridor (a combination of residential, commercial, industrial and mixed use).

The city is participating in an ongoing redevelopment and historical preservation effort, with particular emphasis on the town center. Four sites in downtown are on the National Register of Historic Places: the Evergreen area, West 6th Street, Glenwood Wilbur, and Temple. In an effort to support older neighborhoods that are reporting decline, the City of Mesa has instituted a Neighborhood Opportunity Zone plan that coordinates residents, government, businesses, and non-profits in planning and implementing neighborhood improvements.

Largely funded by the 1998 "Quality of Life" sales tax, the Mesa Arts Center will open its doors in 2005 as a 212,775 square foot performing arts, visual arts and art education hub for the entire state of Arizona. The Arts Center was designed to reflect the aesthetic sensibilities of the Sonoran Desert on its exterior; inside is a complex of four theaters, exhibit space, art education classrooms, and Mesa Contemporary Arts' Galleries. The Mesa Arts Center is the largest facility of its kind in the state and is expected to drive economic development in the downtown area while it anchors the art scene locally and regionally.

In 2004 the City of Mesa developed a cutting-edge Transportation Management Center as part of its Intelligent Transportation System, using the latest technology to improve the flow of traffic through the city. Large-scale improvements on freeways, arterial streets and mass transit programs, funded by a proposition passed in 2004, will keep Mesa an accessible destination for businesses.

Commercial Shipping

Mesa is served by two local airports, a major international airport 12 miles to the west, and a network of freeways, highways, and rail. The Williams Gateway Airport can accommodate corporate, cargo, military, and general aviation craft. A 21,500 square foot storage hangar and a 25,000 square foot air cargo facility are available for shipping concerns, and the airport resides in Foreign Trade Zone #221, allowing for landing and storing import merchandise without full customs formalities.

Falcon Field Airport doubles as an industrial park, offering a variety of charter, general aviation, and cargo flights daily. Sky Harbor International Airport, located between Mesa and Phoenix, is a major aeronautical enterprise that handles 788 tons of air cargo daily and has a $72 million economic impact on the area. The amount of cargo passing through Sky Harbor is expected to increase between 10 and 11 percent per year. Sky Harbor joins Williams Gateway Airport in Foreign Trade Zone #221, easing customs requirements for imported goods and providing some tax relief for those businesses.

Several freeways, U.S. highways, and state highways pass through Mesa, including U.S. 60 (known as Superstition Freeway) and state highways 87 and 89. The Santan Freeway 202 creates a bypass around the more congested downtown area, and Interstates 10 and 17 are quickly accessible from the city. Mesa is the headquarters for several trucking companies of national scope and is located conveniently near many more in Phoenix. Driving conditions are good year-round, and Mesa is within an 8-hour drive of Albuquerque, El Paso, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Diego, Tucson, and several major cities in Mexico. Mesa is also served by Union Pacific Railroad, which has 32,832 miles of track in most states west of the Mississippi River.

Labor Force and Employment Outlook

Census data from the past three decades indicates that Mesa will continue to grow, and it's expected that the economy will grow apace. Despite its agrarian past, it seems likely that farming, fishing, and forestry occupations will decline within the next 10 years, while healthcare, education, construction, and sales will all likely increase their niche in the local job market.

Certain occupational areas such as architecture, transportation, and industry are expected to experience steady growth or remain stable.

The following is a summary of data regarding the Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale metropolitan statistical area labor force, 2004 annual averages.

Size of nonagricultural labor force: 1,674,800

Number of workers employed in . . .

natural resources and mining: 2,000

construction: 140,000

manufacturing: 130,500

trade, transportation and utilities: 339,600

information: 35,700

financial activities: 137,400

professional and business services: 270,900

educational and health services: 172,600

leisure and hospitality: 160,500

other services: 64,200

government: 220,900

Average hourly earnings of production workers employed in manufacturing: $13.84

Unemployment rate: 4.0% (January 2005)

Largest employers Number of employees
Mesa Public Schools 10,132
Banner Health System 6,100
Boeing 4,300
City of Mesa 4,105
AT&T 2,800
WalMart 1,775
TRW Safety Systems 1,450
Empire Southwest Machinery 1,000

Cost of Living

The following is a summary of data regarding key cost of living factors for the Mesa area.

2004 (3rd Quarter) ACCRA Average House Price: $254,751

2004 (3rd Quarter) ACCRA Cost of Living Index: 99.2 (U.S. average = 100.0)

State income tax rate: From 2.87% to 5.04%

State sales tax rate: 5.6%

Local income tax rate: None

Local sales tax rate: .15%

Property tax rate: 0%

Economic Information: City of Mesa, Office of Economic Development, Mesa City Plaza, 20 E. Main Street, Suite 200, PO Box 1466, Mesa, AZ 85201; telephone (480)644-2398; toll-free (800)290-MESA

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Mesa: Education and Research

Mesa: Education and Research

Elementary and Secondary Schools

The Mesa Public Schools System has come a long way from its pioneer farmer roots, when classes were taught in a shack made of cottonwood. These days, the emphasis is on preparing students to function in the new technology of the information age. Classes are geared toward the development of students who can use the latest technology and can think critically in the course of their learning experiences. The school district plans for every student to graduate with a skill or trade that will lead to future employment; to that end, the district has created and implemented a Career and Technical Education (CTE) curriculum. The program is comprised of five areas of concentration, including agricultural education, business education, family and consumer sciences, industrial technology, and informational technology. Hands-on learning is stressed, with some high school students enrolled in a Cooperative Office Education program that allows them to attend classes in the morning and work at local businesses in the afternoon.

With job preparedness as a district-wide concern, it makes sense that Mesa School District would also contain a well-developed and well-supported service learning program, with community-based education suggested in art, business, computer technology, and foreign language classes.

Mesa Public Schools offers 12 alternative education programs spanning kindergarten to 12th grade and running the gamut from early education centers, to support for home-schooled students, to institutions created for drop-out prevention and retrieval.

The following is a summary of data regarding the Mesa Public Schools as of the 20042005 school year.

Total enrollment: 74,916

Number of facilities

elementary schools: 57

junior high schools: 13

high schools: 6

alternative: 12

Student/teacher ratio: 17:1

Teacher salaries

Minimum: $31,641

Maximum: $62,065

Funding per pupil: $4,787

Public Schools Information: Mesa Public Schools, 63 E. Main Street, #101, Mesa, AZ 85201-7422; telephone (480)472-0000

Colleges and Universities

Arizona State University (East Campus) in Mesa functions as a polytechnic institute, or vocational college, offering its nearly 4,000 students degrees in 29 educational concentrations including business, agribusiness, engineering technology, professional pilot training, health and wellness, and education. Baccalaureate, masters and doctoral degrees are all available through the Mesa campus. In June 1999, the university received accreditation by the Professional Golfers Association and is one of the first state universities west of the Mississippi to offer both a Professional Golf Management program and a Golf and Facilities Management major.

Masters and doctoral degrees are available through the Arizona School of Health Sciences, which offers programs such as medical informatics, advanced physician assistant studies, sports medicine, occupational therapy, and audiology. Fieldwork experiences occur in a variety of urban and rural placements, allowing for practical application of academic concepts.

The largest of the 10 Maricopa Community Colleges, Mesa Community College (MCC) offers its student body of 27,000 the only biotechnology studies program in the state of Arizona. Well-respected Fire Science and Nursing academic programs are underscored by a service learning program that has become a blueprint for community colleges across the country. Courses within a variety of disciplines send their students out into the local community to do meaningful volunteer work that employs the theoretical concepts learned in class. Additionally, MCC provides AmeriCorps service scholarships to students who are performing volunteer work or completing unpaid internships.

East Valley Institute of Technology (EVIT) is billed as Arizona's first regional technological education district, serving high school students from 10 East Valley school districts (including Mesa Public Schools). The programs at EVIT are the result of partnerships with local industry and business in an effort to prepare students with the skills needed for future employment. High school students can attend half-days at EVIT and the rest of the school day at their own school. EVIT additionally offers adult education classes under the banner of Evenings at EVIT.

Highly specialized training is available to would-be pilots and transitioning former members of the military at Williams Gateway Airport Educational Campus, which includes tenants such as Advanced Training Systems International, Inc. and Airline Transport Professionals. Keller Graduate School of Management also maintains a Mesa branch with a range of business-related masters degrees. Adult learners can also enroll at the Mesa campus of Ottawa University and the University of Phoenix.

Libraries and Research Centers

The City of Mesa Library system is comprised of one centrally located main library facility, with two branch libraries covering the southwest and northeast portions of the city. The main library is home to the Mesa Room, an archive of local history items and special collections regarding Mesa. Besides offering general library services, the City of Mesa Library coordinates reading programs for children, book discussion groups, special exhibits and lectures.

The Research Library at the Mesa Southwest Museum contains non-circulating materials dedicated to the natural and cultural history of the Southwest.

The East Library at Mesa's branch of Arizona State University offers access to hundreds of databases and thousands of online journals and periodicals, which can be searched remotely. The library provides a call center for help, along with live tech support. The library features the Naxos Music Library, an online compendium of classical music with a sprinkling of other musical genres.

Arizona State University (ASU) East also houses several high-tech facilities for specialized research, including the Golf Driving Range and PING Swing Analysis Lab, which refine the work of students in Professional Golf and Golf Facilities Management programs. ASU's Agribusiness Center incorporates a Consumer Behavior Research Lab with a Market/Trading Room, along with a testing theater for students in the pre-veterinary medicine program. An altitude chamber and a simulator lab provide the latest facilities for pilot training, while the College of Technology and Applied Sciences benefits from the Microelectronics Teaching Factory, a 15,000 square foot manufacturing facility available to both students and local industry partners. ASU East is in the process of constructing a 34,600 square foot research facility to house Applied Biological Research labs, the Applied Cognitive Sciences Center, the Health Lifestyles Center, and the Plant Made Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturing Facility.

Public Library Information: City of Mesa Main Library, 64 East 1 Street, Mesa AZ 85201; telephone (480) 644-2207

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Mesa: History

Mesa: History

The First Farmers

More than 2,000 years ago, Mesa's agricultural destiny was carved out by the Hohokam Indians who settled the area. The Hohokam were peaceful farmers who developed a sophisticated and effective network of irrigation canals that turned the arid land around Mesa into arable soil. Eventually, the Hohokam people seemed to disappear from the area; it is theorized that the tribe may have morphed into the Tohono O'dham tribe or that the Hohokam were driven out of the future Mesa area by Apache Indians. Regardless, the tribe left an indelible mark on the desert that served farmers of all nationalities well for centuries.

Spanish explorers and conquistadores followedboth Francisco Vasquez de Coronado and Father Eusebio Kino passed near Mesa as they searched for treasure and sought to convert Native Americans. The Mesa-Phoenix area also lay along the route to the legendary seven cities of Cibola sought by Estevanico (or Esteban), a former Muslim slave who became an explorer after hurricanes and battles with Native Americans decimated his former crew in Florida. As quickly as the Spanish attempted to put down roots in southwestern Arizona, the Apache tribe drove them out again in a tradition that lasted through the 1700s.

The Mexican War and the U.S. Civil War largely occupied the time and resources of the United States military during the early and mid-1800s, and its forces were operating at less than full power when the government decided to intervene in the clashes between native peoples and European settlers in the Southwest after a portion of Arizona was ceded to the U.S. The Western Indian Wars in the later 1800s were spotted with massacres and relocations; in the Mesa area, the U.S. Army did battle with the Apaches until the tribe agreed to resettlement. Unfortunately, several competing Apache tribes were co-located, resulting in a resumption of hostilities until the military was able to negotiate a surrender by Apache Chief Geronimo in 1886. It was in relative peace that a group of Mormon farmers, dealing with relocation and persecution themselves, established the settlement of Fort Utah in Lehi, just north of Mesa.

Mesa Takes Root

A decade before Chief Geronimo's surrender, the 85 intrepid members of the First Mesa Company left Utah and Idaho. The group was composed of Latter-Day Saints, some of whom practiced polygamy and who had been intrigued by the descriptions of Arizona brought back to church elders by the Mormon Battalion that fought during the Mexican War and traveled through Arizona on its way back to Utah. Stopping briefly in Lehi, the First Mesa Company moved on to the mesa, where they discovered and began clearing the irrigation canals left by the Hohokam people. The Second Mesa Company set out from Idaho about a year later; with the best land in Mesa already claimed, these pioneers established a nearby community called Stringtown, which was eventually absorbed into modern Mesa.

In the late 1800s, a flood in Lehi washed away Fort Utah; it had become evident over time that the lower desert lands were prone to sudden and unexpected flooding, allowing table-top Mesa to flourish. It began to look like a city, complete with an adobe pesthouse to control smallpox outbreaks, a city hall, saloons, and The Mesa Free Press, which has existed continuously under a variety of names since 1892 and is currently known as The East Valley Tribune.

Dr. A.J. Chandler played a significant role in the foundation of Mesa. Using heavy machinery, he enlarged the Hohokam canals and made them more effective in agricultural enterprises. Dr. Chandler was the force behind the construction of the first office complex in Mesa, and he started the first electric power plant. When the municipal government purchased the utility in 1917, it became one of a handful of Arizona cities to own such a service. Earnings from utilities solely funded capital expenditures until the 1960s and also provided the financial underpinning for Works Progress Administration (WPA) projects during the Great Depression. WPA projects included the first dedicated hospital facility, a new city hall and library, sidewalks, paved streets, parks, and a recreation department for the city.

Layers of Culture

By 1940, Mesa had achieved its standing as the third largest city in Arizona, boasting 7,000 inhabitants. Joining the Tohono O'dham Indians, the Hispanics and the Mormons living in Mesa in the early 1900s were African American families (including a veterinarian) and families of Chinese and Japanese heritage who farmed and owned a variety of local businesses. This eclectic populace provided an interesting backdrop for events during the second World War, particularly considering the proximity of the internment camp at the Gila River Indian Reservation nearby.

World War II had another lasting cultural and industrial impact with the development of Falcon Field Airport and Williams Air Force Base as training sites for pilots. British pilots trained at Falcon Field, while U.S. pilots trained at Williams; many of those military families stayed in the Mesa area after the war ended. The aeronautical training and supply facilities at Falcon Field and Williams Air Force Base attracted aviation and aerospace companies to Mesa, propelling a switch from citrus and cotton farming to hightech employment in the mid-1960s.

Twenty-First Century Mesa

Williams Air Force Base was closed in September of 1993 and was quickly reborn as Williams Gateway Airport. The aviation industry gives Mesa its wings today, with weather conditions that are near-perfect for training and testing every month of the year. Both Williams Gateway and Falcon Field are home to national and international aeronautical companies that develop aircraft and aviation systems both for the commercial aviation industry as well as for the military. The climate and geography have also made Mesa a golf destination, to the extent that local universities have developed golf-related degree programs that have been accredited by the Professional Golf Association.

Historical Information: Mesa Historical Museum, 2345 N. Horne Street, Mesa, AZ 85211; telephone (480)835-7358; email: mesamuseum@netzero.net

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Mesa: Health Care

Mesa: Health Care

Mesa is home to four medical centers, three of which are part of the Phoenix-based Banner Health company. The Banner Mesa Medical Center (formerly Mesa Lutheran Hospital) has 258 acute care beds and 62 behavioral health and rehabilitation beds; this full-service community hospital offers acute care for adults, intensive and emergency care, pediatrics, labor and delivery, medical imaging, and surgery. Banner Desert Medical Center offers the community 600 licensed beds for adult acute care, emergency services, intensive care, oncology and cardiology specialties, orthopedics, and neurology. Banner Desert additionally operates a Children's Hospital staffed by medical specialists in pediatric emergency, and surgical, intensive, and rehabilitative care. The third Banner facility is Banner Baywood Medical Center; currently licensed for 239 beds, the hospital is undergoing major expansion that will add 123 patient care beds and increase the size of several departments. Banner Baywood's Orthopedic Institute has been ranked in the top 100 orthopedic programs nationally, according to the Health Network. Other specialty programs and services include an ambulatory treatment unit, intensive care and emergency services, pain management programs, endoscopy and wound/ostomy care. The Banner Baywood Heart Hospital is located on the same campus, with a capacity of 111 beds after a recent expansion. BBHeart provides specialized cardiology services to the East Valley community, offering advanced cardiac diagnostics and treatment.

Mesa General Hospital has served the community for 40 years, offering 126 licensed beds for care ranging from cardiac services, intensive and critical care, imaging, rehabilitation, and wound treatment. Mesa General is also home to the Arizona Diagnostic and Surgical Center and is a designated Diabetes Care Center of Arizona.

Mesa's proximity to Phoenix allows access to hundreds of medical professionals in family practice, specialty practices, outpatient psychiatric services and alternative medicine practices.

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Mesa: Transportation

Mesa: Transportation

Approaching the City

Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport is located approximately 12 miles to the west of Mesa and is served by 21 airlines that connect the East Valley area to 109 cities in the United States and around the world. Sky Harbor is a major hub for Southwest and America West airlines but also has services through airlines such as United, Delta Frontier, and Sun Country. Non-stop international flights are available via Aeromexico, Air Jamaica, British Airways, Lufthansa, Air Canada, and America West Airlines. The local airfields, Williams Gateway and Falcon Field, offer charter flights in the southwest.

Several freeways, U.S. highways and state highways pass through or near Mesa, including U.S. 60 (known as Superstition Freeway) and state highways 87 and 89. The Santan Freeway 202 creates a bypass around the more congested downtown area, and Interstates 10 and 17 are quickly accessible from the city. Greyhound Bus service maintains a branch in Mesa, with daily departures and arrivals.

Traveling in the City

Mesa is laid out on a straightforward north-south, east-west grid pattern as regards its major streets. Center Street and Main Street are perpendicular to each other and, as suits their names, intersect in the city center in a manner that provides a handy reference point and makes city navigation relatively easy.

Bus service within Mesa is provided by Valley Metro, which runs buses 6 days a week for about 16 hours per day. There are 9 local routes and 4 express routes to Phoenix. Mesa operates a Dial-A-Ride program for people with mobility or vehicle operation issues, plus the city offers RideChoice options to elderly and disabled patrons who either use the bus, cabs or are driven to their destinations by friends or family members.

Mesa has styled itself as a bicycle-friendly city, with 70 miles of bicycle routes and 40 miles of bicycle lanes. The city plans for more bicycle route and lane construction in the future, along with facilities at bike destinations.

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Mesa: Population Profile

Mesa: Population Profile

Metropolitan Area Residents (CMSA)

1980: 1,508,030

1990: 2,122,101

2000: 3,251,876

Percent change, 1990-2000: 53.2%

U.S. rank in 2000: 14th

City Residents

1980: 152,404

1990: 288,091

2000: 396,375

2003 estimate: 432,376

Percent change, 1990-2000: 37.6%

U.S. rank in 1990: 53rd (3rd in state)

U.S. rank in 2000: 51st (3rd in state)

Density: 3,171.3 people per square mile (2000)

Racial and ethnic characteristics (2000)

White: 323,655

Black or African American: 9,977

American Indian and Alaskan Native: 6,572

Asian: 5,917

Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander: 932

Hispanic or Latino (may be of any race): 78,281

Other: 38,271

Percent of residents born in state: 33%

Age characteristics

Population under 5 years old: 32,592

Population 5 to 9 years old: 30,259

Population 10 to 14 years old: 28,842

Population 15 to 19 years old: 28,774

Population 20 to 24 years old: 32,488

Population 25 to 34 years old: 61,551

Population 35 to 44 years old: 56,124

Population 45 to 54 years old: 43,807

Population 55 to 59 years old: 15,913

Population 60 to 64 years old: 13,149

Population 65 to 74 years old: 26,546

Population 75 to 84 years old: 20,320

Population 85 years and over: 6,010

Median age: 32.0 (2000)

Births (Maricopa County, 2004)

Total number: 60,480

Deaths (Maricopa County, 2004)

Total number: 23,497 (of which, 395 were infants under the age of 1 year)

Money income (1999)

Per capita income: $19,601

Median household income: $42,817

Total households: 146,700

Number of households with income of . . .

less than $10,000: 8,758

$10,000 to $14,999: 8,104

$15,000 to $24,999: 19,061

$25,000 to $34,999: 21,131

$35,000 to $49,999: 28,482

$50,000 to $74,999: 31,494

$75,000 to $99,999: 15,636

$100,000 to $149,999: 10,093

$150,000 to $199,999: 2,320

$200,000 or more: 1,621

Percent of families below poverty level: 6.2% (20% of which were female householder families with related children under 5 years)

2002 FBI Crime Index Total: 33,335

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Mesa: Communications

Mesa: Communications

Newspapers and Magazines

The Mesa area is served by The East Valley Tribune, which is delivered daily and is available online by subscription. Get Out, an affiliate of the daily paper, supplies dining and entertainment information for Mesa residents and tourists alike. Another online news alternative for the East Valley is offered by Newszap.com. Mesa Community College publishes its campus paper, The Mesa Legend. Spanish language speakers can check out La Voz and Prensa Hispana, while other local publications write to the interests of the Catholic, Jewish, and senior populations in Mesa.

Television and Radio

Phoenix is Mesa's source for network television broadcast stations, being home to affiliates of CBS, ABC, NBC, and Fox. Mesa Channel 11 provides local coverage of council meetings and announcements of local events.

Mesa is within hearing distance of a wide variety of AM and FM radio stations with signals originating in Phoenix; formats run the gamut from talk radio to National Public Radio to classical music to rock and roll. KDKB 93.3 FM is based in Mesa and plays a hard rock rotation.

Mesa Online

City of Mesa home page. Available www.ci.mesa.az.us

City of Mesa Library. Available www.mesalibrary.org

Mesa Chamber of Commerce. Available www.mesachamber.org

Mesa Convention and Visitors Bureau. Available www.mesacvb.com/index.cfm

Mesa Historical Museum. Available www.mesaaz.org/index.htm

Mesa Town Center Corporation. Available www.mesatown center.com

Selected Bibliography

Our Town: The Story of Mesa, Arizona, 1878-1991 (Mesa, AZ: Mesa Public Schools, 1991.)

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Mesa

Mesa

Mesa: Introduction
Mesa: Geography and Climate
Mesa: History
Mesa: Population Profile
Mesa: Municipal Government
Mesa: Economy
Mesa: Education and Research
Mesa: Health Care
Mesa: Recreation
Mesa: Convention Facilities
Mesa: Transportation
Mesa: Communications

The City in Brief

Founded: 1878 (incorporated in 1883)

Head Official: Mayor Keno Hawker (since 2000)

City Population

1980: 152,453

1990: 288,091

2000: 396,375

2003 estimate: 432,376

Percent change, 1990-2000: 37.6%

U.S. rank in 1990: 53rd (3rd in state)

U.S. rank in 2000: 51st (3rd in state)

Metropolitan Area Population (PMSA)

1980: 1,508,030

1990: 2,122,101

2000: 3,251,876

Percent change, 1990-2000: 53.2%

U.S. rank in 2000: 14th

Area: 125.18 square miles (2000)

Elevation: 1,241 feet above sea level

Average Annual Temperature: 84.5° F

Average Annual Precipitation: 8.5 inches

Major Economic Sectors: aerospace/aviation, agri-business, automotive, business services, education services, electronics, health services, manufacturing, retail, transportation services

Unemployment Rate: 4.0% (January 2005)

Per Capita Income: $19,601

2002 FBI Crime Index Total: 33,335

Major Colleges and Universities: Arizona State University East, Mesa Community College, East Valley Institute of Technology

Daily Newspapers: East Valley Tribune

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Mesa: Convention Facilities

Mesa: Convention Facilities

The Main Hall of the Mesa Convention Center offers 15,000 square feet of open space that can be used for trade show exhibits, banquets, dances, concerts and other events. An additional 4,000 square feet can be added by leaving the adjacent meeting rooms open to the Main Hall. The Conference Center features a 100-seat conference theatre that possesses multi-media capabilities for presentations and teleconferences. Breakout rooms and an executive conference room are also available.

The Mesa Amphitheatre hosts more than 70 events per year; festival-style seating can accommodate 4,200 for commercial shows and outdoor festivals.

The Arizona Golf Resort and Conference Center has a 12,000 square foot space for meetings and exhibitions, bolstered by an additional 5,000 square feet of general session rooms, training rooms, board rooms, outdoor courtyards, and even onsite Championship Golf. The Marriott Phoenix Mesa Hotel and Convention Center offers 52,000 square feet of meeting and function space. The 18,000 square foot Exhibit Hall is accompanied by the 9,000 square foot Arizona Ballroom and an outdoor amphitheatre that can accommodate up to 5,200 people.

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Mesa: Geography and Climate

Mesa: Geography and Climate

Desert, mountains, watersomehow Mesa got it all. Located along a spit of the Sonoran Desert, Mesa is warm and arid every month of the year and enjoys the flora and fauna of the desert clime. Saguaro and prickly pear cacti are abundant, along with varieties of cholla, and the dry soil outside the city is wandered by rattlesnakes, jack rabbits, bobcats, hawks, and owls. While Mesa gets 320 days of sunshine annually and temperatures in the 100s during the summer, the city also has easy access to six local lakes and two nearby rivers. The Superstition Mountain range just to the east of the city provides some altitude to the mesas and valleys of the area.

Area: 125.18 square miles (2000)

Elevation: 1,241 feet above sea level

Average Temperatures: January, 54.1° F; July, 91.1° F; annual average, 84.5° F

Average Annual Precipitation: 8.5 inches

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Mesa (city, United States)

Mesa (mā´sə), city (1990 pop. 288,091), Maricopa co., S central Ariz., in the irrigated Salt River valley; inc. 1883. Electronic components, fabricated metals, aircraft, and machine tools are among its various manufactures. One of the fastest-growing U.S. cities, Mesa's population has more than doubled since 1980. Tourism is important, and the citrus and farm products of the area are packed and processed in Mesa. The Mormons who founded the city in 1878 used old Native American irrigation canals for farming in the Salt River valley. In Mesa are the Mesa Art Center, a Mormon temple, and the chief agricultural experiment farm of the Univ. of Arizona. The Chicago Cubs baseball team also has a spring training camp there.

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mesa (in geology)

mesa (mā´sə) [Span.,=table], name given in the SW United States to a small, isolated tableland or a flat-topped hill. Two or more of the sides are steep and usually perpendicular and some have all four sides practically perpendicular. Their bold lines make them a picturesque part of the landscape, and they are frequently deep red or yellow in color. Mesas originate from the erosion of plateaus that were capped by hard rock, usually in arid regions. Cliffs form, retreating as the soft layers beneath the cap rock are eroded. As the soft rock wears away, the upper cliff breaks along cracks and eventually produces a mesa. A butte is the last stage of the sequence, before the feature's complete consumption by erosion. The strata, or layers of rock, in a mesa are horizontal, or nearly so. The many "table mountains" are mesas. Two celebrated mesas are the Mesa Verde in Colorado and the Enchanted Mesa (Mesa Encantada) in New Mexico.

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Mesa: Municipal Government

Mesa: Municipal Government

The city of Mesa has established a charter under which it operates, with citizens of the municipality electing a mayor and six district council members. Council members serve four-year terms; every two years, there is an election for three seats on the council. The mayor serves a four-year term in office. A vice mayor, chosen by the council, assists the mayor and council in administration of the city government.

Head Official: Mayor Keno Hawker (since 2000; current term expires 2008)

Total Number of City Employees: 4,105 (2005)

City Information: City of Mesa, 20 E. Main Street, Mesa, AZ 85201; telephone (480)644-2055

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Mesa: Introduction

Mesa: Introduction

Founded by Mormon agricultural pioneers, Mesa today is growing like a weed. Far enough from Phoenix to retain its small town feel yet near enough to the big city to encourage the growth of technological and manufacturing industries, Mesa has become more than a retirement community and has evolved into a tourist mecca in its own right. Layers of native, frontier, and Mexican history have combined to form a city of eclectic tastes and offerings, from the prehistoric farming canals deep in the ground to the aviation businesses that take to the skies.

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Mesa

Me·sa / ˈmāsə/ a city in south central Arizona, east of Phoenix; pop. 396,375.

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mesa

mesaamasser, gasser, macassar, Makassar, Mombasa, Nasser •relaxer, waxer •salsa •cancer, romancer •piazza • necromancer • madrasa •Kinshasa, Lhasa, passer, Tarrasa, Vaasa •advancer, answer, chancer, dancer, enhancer, lancer, prancer •tazza •addresser, aggressor, assessor, compressor, confessor, contessa, depressor, digresser, dresser, guesser, intercessor, lesser, Odessa, oppressor, possessor, professor, represser, successor, transgressor, Vanessa •Alexa, flexor, vexer •Elsa, Kielce •censer, censor, dispenser, fencer, Mensa, sensor, Spenser •seltzer •Faenza, Henze •indexer • hairdresser • predecessor •microprocessor, processor •acer, bracer, chaser, debaser, embracer, facer, macer, mesa, pacer, placer, racer, spacer, tracer •Ailsa • steeplechaser •greaser, Lisa, Nerissa, piecer, Raisa, releaser •pizza

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