Tempe Mayor Corey Woods Wants to Keep it Going and Deliver Again for Tempe in the Next Four Years

As a Tempe City Councilmember and Mayor, Corey Woods has worked to deliver positive and equitable results for local residents.

From affordable housing to economic and community development to green sustainable programs like maintaining parks and overseeing the institution of a local streetcar program system, Mayor Woods has always looked toward tomorrow in moving Tempe forward and lifting people up.

If re-elected, the Mayor will continue to work on future affordable housing projects and a regional streetcar system with Mesa.

Mayor Woods graciously took the time to interview and answer questions about his reelection campaign.

The questions and his responses are below.

  • Please tell the readers at least two reasons you’d like to seek a second term as Tempe’s Mayor.

“There are a couple of big initiatives that we’re working on right now. One of them is Refresh Tempe. It is all about getting back to basics as a community and how we deal with fixing up and maintaining our parks. We’re making sure that we’re putting enough money into road maintenance, not just simply on major arterials or collector streets, but also in the streets that are in people’s neighborhoods. The Refresh Tempe initiative really is about those critical elements.”

“We have more parks per square mile than any other city in the East Valley. We have recently reopened five parks with new, all-inclusive playground equipment, additional ramadas, and shade structures, and more trees. We currently have another 11 parks that are in redesign right now.”

“When it comes to a lot of that road repaving when I’m out talking to residents in their neighborhoods, they’ll say to me many times, ‘I’m very happy with the city and very happy with the direction that we’re going in, but I just want to make sure that the streets of my neighborhood can get resurfaced a little bit faster.’ We’ve invested $60 million over the next five years to do a lot of that work, but I would really like to see that work accelerated and want to be around to see it implemented.”

“The second thing I would say is we’ve got some major projects that are coming up in the very near future. The redevelopment plan for the Hayden Flour Mill will preserve both the mill and the silos, but also create other opportunities for restaurants, small and medium-sized businesses, and event space, all while preserving what the mill stands for and what it means to the people living in this community.”

“We’re also very actively working with our four southern tribes to make sure that what we’re doing is respectful of the land that we’re on. They’ve been very much a part of this process along with our historic preservation community and economic development team. So that’s a very big project that I think can really galvanize our residents and really make the north side of Mill Avenue a real gem. We also have a couple of other projects that are affordable housing opportunities like the Apache Central Project, which is at Apache and Dorsey, where the old Food City was. We had a request for proposals that closed recently to create a new affordable housing development where at least 50% of the housing would have to be affordable, along with bringing back an affordable grocery/food option for the residents in that section of our community. We received several formal proposals and are excited to begin to see which one might be the best fit. Another project we’re working on is to create affordable housing at the old Tempe Performing Arts Center in downtown Tempe, to provide attainable housing for people working in our service industry. I’m also actively working with our local school districts to create affordable housing opportunities for our teachers. So, those are some of the big projects we’re working on right now that I’m really looking forward to seeing through.”

  • Please tell the readers at least three reasons the voters should let you again serve as Tempe Mayor.

“I think one would be the affordable housing that I discussed a little earlier. That has really been the number one issue for me since I first got into politics back in 2008 as a 29-year-old first-year Councilmember. We had an affordable housing issue back then. It’s grown even into more of a crisis nationally than it was 15 years ago. My number one issue has always been how do we provide housing for people of all different backgrounds, all different income levels, and all different occupations. When I hear stories from our school districts, governing board members, and our superintendents about how they are losing teachers in our community because they can no longer afford to live in the City of Tempe, that’s personally heartbreaking to me as the son of a 30-year teacher in New York City public schools. So that’s one of the big issues. I think it’s one of the most preeminent issues that’s going on in our community right now. It’s something that I really want to continue working on moving forward.”

“I always want to be accessible to our residents. I’m regularly at neighborhood gatherings, knocking on doors, as well as personally answering emails and social media accounts. I try very hard to be available to our residents as much as possible. I think that’s really critically important and something that I really pledge to do in a second term is to continue to give it my all from a public accessibility standpoint like I have during my first term, and frankly during the entire duration that I’ve been a member of this governing body.”

“We’ve talked about housing quite a bit. I want to continue working with our unhoused population, who are the most vulnerable people living in our community. In the last couple of years, the City of Tempe has nearly doubled the number of people working in our HOPE and CARE 7 outreach teams. We purchased a motel on Apache Boulevard, which now provides eighty beds for our unhoused residents. We recently entered into a partnership with Maricopa County where we will receive an additional $7.3 million to acquire another hotel or motel to provide even more housing. This has become a more challenging issue in the state of Arizona over the last few years. I truly believe that we have some great solutions in the City of Tempe that I want to continue to expand upon.”

“Transportation is a big thing for me. I really would like to try to find ways to extend our modern streetcar eastbound on Rio Salado to the City of Mesa to create a truly regional system. That’s another big picture item that I believe can be a huge win in relieving traffic congestion and being responsible stewards of our environment.”

  • What have been your two proudest achievements as Mayor of Tempe?

“One would be our Hometown for All affordable housing initiative where we’ve generated $17.5 million in a little over two years since the program was started in January of 2021. That money helps us to acquire property which is many times scarce in the City of Tempe due to us being landlocked. It also helps us have the money we need to do the environmental remediation on many city-owned properties. When we partner with an affordable housing developer, they then get a clean piece of dirt so they can provide truly attainable housing for decades to come. I would say that’s a very critical program from my perspective. I’m looking to hopefully work with the City Council to add even more components in the next year or so to make some of that money potentially available for people who need it even more immediately.”

“The other thing I would say is that our Human Services outreach is something that really has been very near and dear to my heart. I could go on forever about how proud I am of our HOPE and CARE 7 teams that work with the unhoused community and people who are experiencing mental health challenges.”

“Something that the City Council and I are working on that will likely be approved in the upcoming fiscal year budget is to bring back our very successful Park and Lake Ranger Program, which was unfortunately scuttled back in 2010 due to the Great Recession and declining city revenues at the time. But that was a very successful program that I’m really excited about bringing back.”

  • What have been two regrets you have had during your first term as Mayor?

I really wish I could have had more in-person time with Tempeans during my first year as Mayor, but we were all doing our best to practice social distancing due to the presence of the COVID-19 pandemic. I was still active doing the job and meeting with residents virtually. But at the same time, this is not a job that lends itself to being done from behind a computer screen. It’s something where you really do need to be present in front of people at homeowners’ associations, neighborhood gatherings, and block watch meetings. It was very tough to sort of lose that first year from a face-to-face perspective. But at the same time, we all did the best that we could in trying to make the best out of what was a very challenging situation. I really wish I could get that first year back when it came to physically just being out in the community and having the ability to shake hands and hug people and just have that face-to-face contact with our residents.”

“The second regret is there have been a couple of projects that have been a little harder to get out of the ground. It can be challenging when projects are totally reliant on receiving Low-Income Housing Tax Credits and can’t bring as much traditional financing to the table. So, some of them have taken a little bit longer than I would’ve initially liked, but that’s just the reality of the situation. The COVID-19 pandemic also really slowed some things down when it came to a supply chain perspective. But in this job, you just have to keep pushing forward, and that’s exactly what I plan on doing.”

  • If elected to a second term, what are three legislative priorities you would like to pursue?

“I spent six months on a bipartisan housing supply study committee at the Arizona State Legislature. I would really like to continue working on statewide affordable housing solutions.”

“I’ve been an advocate for a tool called Tax Improvement Financing, which every other state in the United States has access to. It’s only been preempted in the State of Arizona. It’s not just simply for economic development, because it’s also been a proven affordable and attainable housing tool. So, I would like to find a way to get that into Arizona. It’s a tool that cities like Tempe and other communities that really want to get more affordable and workforce housing could really effectively utilize.”

“Inclusionary zoning is another item that’s critically important to me. This was also preempted by a previous state legislature. I would love to have the ability as we are approving multi-family developments to be able to have a certain percentage set aside, perhaps 20% for affordable/attainable housing, for at least a 25-to-30-year period. I would like to find ways to work on additional solutions, not just from a citywide standpoint with the Hometown for All program, but also statewide affordable housing solutions for people in our communities across Arizona who really do need them. I think that tax increment financing and inclusionary zoning amongst other things could really be tools that could help us get to those goals.”

“We have a budding partnership with Maricopa County in terms of working on solutions for our unhoused community when it comes to acquiring additional hotels and motels to create quality housing for people who are currently living on our streets. I think we always have to remember that those living on our streets are just as much a part of our community as anybody else here. I’m really excited about the ability to partner with the County because it shows how both a municipal and a county entity can work together to improve the lives and outcomes for people in our community who really do need support.”

“I talked about this a little bit earlier, but I would say the streetcar expansion with the City of Mesa is definitely a key priority. I have been very fortunate to have Mayor John Giles of the City of Mesa as a really great partner in the region when it comes to thoughtful, proactive solutions. We’re right now in the midst of a $2 million dollar feasibility study. This could create a truly regional system, connecting two of the top ten biggest cities in the State of Arizona so people could get to and from our communities. It’s the right thing to do when it comes to relieving traffic congestion. It’s also the right thing to do from a climate change and environmental sustainability standpoint.”

Please visit www.coreyfortempe.com to learn more about Corey Woods and his reelection campaign for Tempe Mayor.

1 thought on “Tempe Mayor Corey Woods Wants to Keep it Going and Deliver Again for Tempe in the Next Four Years”

  1. It will be interesting to see how the failed Coyotes’ project will impact this election.

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