Scottsdale doesn’t intend to let Phoenix enjoy having a prettier stretch of the Arizona Canal for long.
Phoenix recently finished its part of a beautification project on the south canal bank along Indian School Road from about 48th Street to its boundary with Scottsdale at 60th Street.
The popular jogging and biking path is ornamented with colorful handrails, decorative masonry retaining walls and attractive landscaping.
Scottsdale plans to pick up where Phoenix left off and extend the adornments to 64th Street within six weeks, said senior project manager Bill Peifer.
By early next year, the city hopes to have spiffed up the canal banks along another several blocks, reaching to Goldwater Boulevard, Peifer said.
It’s expected to take more than $800,000 in transportation sales-tax dollars to complete. The investment has been spurred by the role that the canal is to play in Scottsdale’s downtown revitalization.
A more appealing canal is part of a plan to establish an "aesthetic gateway’’ to downtown that would attract more visitors and become a neighborhood amenity for downtown residents, according to city documents.
"Once downtown living becomes more popular, the canal will see a lot more use,’’ Peifer said.
The canal banks also are to be a pivotal link for both local and regional trail systems, said Scottsdale transportation planner Amy Carothers.
A trail project led by Maricopa County will seek to provide connections for hikers, bikers and equestrians to parks and recreations areas throughout the county.
The Papago Salado Association — a joint venture of Scottsdale, Phoenix, Tempe and the Salt River Project utility company — plans to use the canal banks for much of a trail system offering access to attractions from Tempe’s Town Lake and the Rio Salado area to downtown Scottsdale.
As part of the Papago Salado effort, SRP is to construct a user-friendly installation on the canal bank at 64th Street. A stylish oval rest-stop structure will provide seating along with signs that tell some of the history of the canal area and point the way to local points of interest.