Rio Salado Project

After an initial visionary effort by the ASU Design School in the 1960’s for the Rio Salado revitalization and the subsequent realization efforts by the cities of Phoenix, Tempe and Mesa, Senator McCain is re-kindling the vision for our River with great promise to the Valley.


Our urban rivers can be a source of civic pride that connects and transforms diverse communities as well as enhances the future economic and environmental vitality of the region.  The Rio Salado, a historically significant and underutilized natural resource, has been reimagined as a unifying public space that engages and supports social interaction.  This visionary project is envisioned to promote progressive commerce that sustains an equitable, high quality, environment within which all communities thrive.

The Rio Reimagined project spans approximately 58-mile stretch of Rio Salado from Granite Reef Dam to State Route 85 including the Rio Salado and the Gila Rivers. It is envisioned as a partnership between the eight community stakeholders along the river corridor – Mesa, Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, Tempe, Phoenix, Avondale, Gila River Indian Community, Avondale, Goodyear and Buckeye.   These Valley communities will join together to explore ways to reconnect the splendor of the River with the residents of the Valley of the Sun while maintaining flood protection and safety.   An active and diverse public engagement process has begun to leverage broad support for the redevelopment and stewardship of the urban riverfront.

At the request of U.S. Senator McCain, Arizona State University is currently serving as a community convener of the Rio Reimagined project.  Initial work has focused on precedent project studies and stakeholder engagement, with active academic focus by over 20 undergraduate and post-graduate classes.  While ASU has provided financial, intellectual and organizational resources to begin the journey, Rio Reimagined belongs to and will be directed by the Valley communities along the river corridor.

CLICK HERE  for more information on this visionary green infrastructure project.


AZ CentralThe Rio Reimagined - Arizona's leaders support Salt River bed development pushed by McCain

More than 100 of Arizona's most influential business and political leaders from both sides of the aisle gathered in a theater overlooking Tempe Town Lake Friday to unanimously support one of the most ambitious ideas in recent Arizona history.

Project Highlights

Once relegated to a refuse repository, the Rio Salado possesses a compelling history, revived riparian ecology supporting vast bio-diversity, and recreational amenities of which many Valley residents have not had an opportunity to explore (AZCentral).