Our view: If the Waveyard can't quickly rise once the local economy is rolling again, then Mesa will know it's time to walk away.
One of the most important reasons why we supported Mesa's involvement with a proposed water-adventure park was that city taxpayers lose almost nothing if the project never leaves dry dock.
The deal negotiated by Mesa City Manager Chris Brady guarantees that Riverview Golf Course and the ballfields next door remain undisturbed until the developers of the Waveyard can prove they have the loans and other financing necessary to deliver the project as approved by city voters in November 2007. The financing has to include a type of insurance that guarantees Mesa will receive the $20 million pledged in sales tax revenues to pay for the land, regardless of the economic success or failure of the Waveyard once it is built.
So Brady and the Mesa City Council had every reason last week to grant an 18-month extension for the Waveyard's construction to get under way, which Tribune writer Andre Bowser reported Friday. At this point, those developers are carrying all of the financial risk while west Mesa residents can continue to enjoy the existing outdoor recreation, at least for a little while longer.
Someone might note that until Mesa cancels the Waveyard deal, the city can't entertain any other potential uses for this property that could start generating new sales tax dollars. However, until the recession is truly over, we can't imagine any serious buyer coming along who would put this land to immediate productive use.
The vision for the Waveyard has so much potential to bring in quality tourism and other amenities that the city would be foolish not to wait some more to see what happens.
A number of reports last week indicated that the national economy has entered the first stages of recovery. Hopefully, the East Valley will experience a resurgence of employment and wage growth within the next year.
If the Waveyard can't quickly rise once the local economy is rolling again, then Mesa will know it's time to walk away.