Buckeye workshop focuses on entryways to city


BUCKEYE — According to Buckeye City Planner Ken Galica, city entry signs are just as much about finding things and places to avoid as they are about locating destinations.

That’s how Galica introduced Jason Harrington, a planning and design consultant, at Tuesday’s Buckeye City Council workshop. Harrington then took about an hour to talk about the city’s arterial gateway guide — a planning and design document that will guide future construction of landscaped medians along Buckeye’s arterial streets and parkways.

As a first step towards establishing a higher aesthetic along high-visibility entries into the city, the Development Services Department hired Harrington’s firm to assist in creating the guide.

Harrington also led a discussion at the Buckeye Planning and Zoning Commission’s July 26 meeting. The purpose of the work sessions are to introduce the city’s elected and appointed officials to the project and to begin identifying some of the aesthetic elements, such as tree species, colors and materials, lighting and signs, that will be included within the guide.

Harrington listed some things other Valley communities have done to put a signature on medians and entry routes, noting how successful each one is in defining a community.

“Some things look great, but without a place name or other wording, they aren’t distinct,” Harrington said. “You wouldn’t really know where you’re at, just by the shape or colors or a type of logo.”

When completed, the document will influence the design of landscaped medians within the city, particularly in high-visibility locations.

The goal is to enhance Buckeye’s appearance to visitors and residents as people exit Interstate 10 or another major entry route and travel into the city.

The work sessions are part of the early stages of the process of creating the guide. The final guide is expected to be completed in late winter or early spring of next year, with the planning and zoning commission and city council granting final approval.

Construction of medians and entries would later be completed in the course of adjacent development or within future capital improvement plan projects.

Harrington did a fair amount of listening to council feedback Tuesday. Vice Mayor Craig Heustis said he’d like to find a format within the guide formation process that could involve the city’s larger planned communities, such as Verrado, Tartesso, Blue Horizons, Sunrise and Sun City Festival.

Mayor Eric Orsborn said he’d like to see tall items that can be seen from far away.

Harrington said there could be district themes or ones unique to east-west or north-south entryways.
Natural resources will be a factor as well.

“I love what Litchfield Park has done with grassy medians, but that might be something a city of our size can’t do,” Orsborn said. “To me, the Lake Pleasant, El Mirage and Scottsdale parkways are very bland. I like what Goodyear has done with its monuments on the median — something that really pops.”

Buckeye, development, entryways, medians, I-10, Lower Buckeye Road, State Route 85, MC85