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Tempe approves contract to revitalize Mill Avenue

Tempe city officials recently approved a $4.4 million contract to give historic Mill Avenue a face-lift.

The upgrades are part of the Refresh Tempe initiative. The streetscape project will replace all the sidewalks on Mill Avenue between Rio Salado Parkway and University Drive, as well as a new tree canopy.

Mayor Corey Woods says safety will also be addressed.

“Many times I actually hear it from people who are wearing heels, any kind of a shoe with heels, that they are, that they — there's more of a tendency to trip because of some of the unevenness or the cracking or the missing bricks that might be in certain parts of the downtown," he said. 

He also says downtown Tempe hasn’t had a makeover since the late '80s.

“There's a lot more competition out there with a lot of other East Valley communities that are building up their downtowns. And so we obviously, since we haven't done this in nearly 40 years, we thought this would be the right time for us to make a substantial investment in trying to upgrade the quality of our downtown, as well," he said.

Construction is expected to begin in April and will continue on and off through the summer. Mill Avenue will remain open for the project’s duration.

Ignacio Ventura is a reporter for KJZZ. He graduated from the University of Southern California with a bachelor’s degree in creative writing and a minor in news media and society.