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ASU Insight: Rio Salado Valley leadership meeting

President Michael Crow discusses ASU's role in the vision for the Rio Salado river.

November 17, 2017

At the request of Sen. John McCain, a select group of Valley public and private leaders convened to discuss a collaborative vision for the future economic, social and environmental vitality of the Rio Salado.

On Nov. 17, McCain (R-Ariz.) and Arizona State University announced the launch of an effort to transform the entire Salt River bottom through metro Phoenix into an urban and environmental amenity. The project will run from Granite Reef Dam in the East Valley to the Tres Rios Wetlands in Buckeye.

“Anybody who drives past Tempe Town Lake realizes what a success this is,” McCain said. “Every mayor wants a Tempe Town Lake.”

The project will not be simply a continuation of Tempe Town Lake, but a balance between the two developed areas in the riverbed now: the environmental amenities at the Nina Mason Pulliam Rio Salado Audubon Center in Phoenix, and the commercial/recreational nature of Tempe Town Lake.

“We want to make this an example to the rest of the state, as well as the nation,” McCain said. “I’ll tell you whose plan it is, and who’s going to make it work, and that’s ASU.”

The project is being dubbed Rio Salado 2.0. This Rio Salado river project is supported by the University City Exchange at ASU, directed by Wellington "Duke" Reiter, senior advisor to ASU President Michael Crow.