Daily Archives: October 10, 2009

Central Phoenix Superfund site to be cleaned up by APS and Honeywell

OU3 Study Area (click on image for full size map)

[Source: Sadie Jo Smokey, Arizona Republic] — Honeywell and Arizona Public Service Co. have agreed to pay an estimated $1.5 million to prepare the way for the cleanup of a portion of a the Motorola 52nd Street Superfund Site, the Environmental Protection Agency announced.  The portion of the site, called Operable Unit 3, generally extends from 20th Street on the east to Seventh Avenue on the west, and is between McDowell Road on the north and Buckeye Road on the south.  OU3 is part of a larger underground plume of contaminated groundwater.

The work, which will take an estimated 2 1/2 years, involves installing groundwater and soil vapor monitoring wells to fill data gaps, and analyzing potential options for groundwater cleanup.  The companies also will develop a groundwater risk assessment that evaluates the potential threat to human health and the environment.  “These companies have agreed to carry out important work that will move the cleanup of this site forward,” said Keith Takata, Superfund Division Director for the EPA’s Pacific Southwest Region.  “This agreement will help protect the groundwater resources in Maricopa County.”

The Phoenix plume isn’t causing health problems because the contamination is more than 80 feet below the surface, and there are no drinking-water wells in the area. But environmental officials say it’s still important to get it cleaned up in case of future demand.

The Superfund Site, which involves primarily chlorinated solvents used in manufacturing, extends from 52nd Street to Seventh Avenue and from McDowell to Buckeye roads.  It was added to the Environmental Protection Agency’s federal Superfund list in 1989 and dozens of companies have been asked to investigate whether their operations also contributed to the chemical groundwater pollution and should help pay for the cleanup.  [Note: For more information on the issue, visit the U.S. EPA website or Arizona DEQ website.  Read the full article at Central Phoenix Superfund site to be cleaned up by APS and Honeywell.]

Arizona Science Center gains Phoenix History Museum’s assets

[Source: Kathleen Gormley, Arizona Republic] — The Arizona Science Center has acquired the assets of the Phoenix Museum of History under a new operating agreement that also gives it the right to occupy the museum’s building.  The Phoenix Museum of History, 105 N. Fifth St., closed its doors June 30 because of financial problems.

The science center, 600 E. Washington St., has agreed to provide at least 5,400 square feet of space dedicated to Phoenix history in one of the two buildings, city officials said.  The history museum totals 20,000 square feet.

The Phoenix City Council approved the agreement Wednesday in which the science center will operate both buildings.  The city owns the buildings and is responsible for maintenance of them.  The museums pay rent to the city to occupy the buildings.  “This is not a merger,” said Ruth Osuna, deputy city manager.  “It is a transfer of assets of the Museum of History to the science center.”

The museum, which has been looking for a financial partner, contacted the Arizona Science Center about a partnership “about 17 or 18 months ago,” said Chevy Humphrey, president and CEO of the science center.  Kristin Priscella, science center senior director of communications, said the science center is “working on a plan to catalogue the artifacts that were part of the history museum’s asset acquisition.”  She said a reopening date for the history section is to be determined.  [Note: Read the full article at Arizona Science Center gains Phoenix history museum’s assets.]

Highest 2009 enrollment growth seen at ASU’s downtown Phoenix campus

[Source: Arizona State University] — Enrollment at ASU this fall has reached a record 68,064 students, a thousand more than last year’s 67,082.  ASU’s enrollment has grown by nearly 13,000 students since 2002, when it adopted the mission of becoming a high-quality, high-access university.

  • The Downtown Phoenix campus grew to 11,503 students in its fourth year.  Last year there were 8,431 enrolled. (26.7%)
  • Enrollment at the West campus grew to 10,380 from 9,572 last year. (7.8%)
  • At the Tempe campus, 55,552 students are enrolled, increasing over last year’s 52,734. (5.1%)
  • Enrollment at the Polytechnic campus in Mesa is 9,146, down from last year’s 9,614. (-5.1%)

More students are attending ASU full-time, almost five percent more than last year.  Of the total enrollment, 13,787 are graduate students.  The number of ethnic minority students increased more than seven percent, from 17,334 to 18,600.  The proportion of ethnic minority students among first-time freshmen increased from 31.5% to 34.2%.

Campus enrollment figures total more than the overall unduplicated count of 68,064, as ASU students take advantage of the courses that are offered by departments throughout the university, not just at the campus that is the academic home of the student.

Worst may be over for metro Phoenix housing

[Source: Catherine Reagor, Arizona Republic] — Valley homeowners have watched their property values plummet with a sense of shock and horror during the past year.  But the gut-wrenching drop could be over as early signs of the market finally hitting bottom have appeared in some areas.  On Sunday, The Arizona Republic’s latest Valley Home Values report will show prices dropped in every Phoenix-area ZIP code during the first eight months of 2009.  A closer look at the numbers, though, reveals newer communities on the outer edges of metropolitan Phoenix are seeing smaller declines in home prices this year compared with 2008.

Those areas, including neighborhoods in Buckeye, Gilbert, Queen Creek, and Surprise, were the first to experience the housing market’s collapse.  Those former housing hot spots could be the first to recover.

Older areas closer to downtown Phoenix, including many central Phoenix neighborhoods, suffered the biggest home-price hits this year.  Most of these areas were the last parts of the Valley to see housing values tank, but they could bounce back more quickly because many of the neighborhoods are popular with people who want to live closer in.  [Note: Read the full article at Worst may be over for metro Phoenix housing.]