On Dec. 8, Tolleson’s new mayor and elected council members were sworn in during an online ceremony.
Before they leave office, they may be attending meetings at a new city hall.
With a population of just over 7,000, Tolleson has not experienced the explosive growth of neighbors like Goodyear and Buckeye.
While official numbers from this year’s census have not been released, the most recent U.S. Census figures show Tolleson has a population of 7,342, compared to 6,545 a decade ago, a 12% increase. In the same time, Litchfield Park increased by 32% (4,886 to 6,436), Buckeye by 56% (50,851 to 79,620), Avondale by 16% (76,132 to 87,931) and Goodyear by 33% (65,261 to 86,840).
Though its population growth has been modest, Tolleson has some major growth projects in the works, both residential and commercial.
And one of the biggest projects expected to begin in 2021 is a new Tolleson City Hall.
This is actually three buildings in one, as the project wraps in a new library and senior center.
The $18.6 million city complex also includes council chambers and administrative offices.
At recent meetings, Tolleson officials ranged from optimistic to giddy about the planned city hall.
The week before passing on the gavel, then-Mayor Anna Tovar led an online “dedication” featuring project designer the Smith Group and Haydon Construction.
The city hall project is targeted for the southwest corner of 91st Avenue and Van Buren Street. The location is less than a mile from JBS meat-packing plant, the largest employer in the city.
Tovar and City Manager Reyes Medrano both said the project has been in the works for decades.
“The current city hall was built in 1967. I was born in 1969,” said Medrano.
“I’m used to this place, but it’s time for a new home.”
He said the project has been discussed for years: “It took this city council to get the bonds” to fund it, Medrano said.
Tovar agreed. “This was a long time in the making,” she said.
“You will see it up within two years,” Tovar said—one of her last promises as mayor.
“We definitely have outgrown our current city hall,” Tovar said.
She noted, “It’s not the Taj Mahal. … We wanted to be good stewards of our tax money.”
Juan F. Rodriguez, formerly a councilman, is Tolleson’s newly mayor, replacing Tovar. She did not run for reelection, instead successfully running for the Arizona Corporation Commission.
At a ceremony last week, Tolleson City Council members Lupe Leyva Bandin, Adolfo F. Gámez and Albert P. Mendoza also were sworn in by John Lamb, presiding judge of the Tolleson City Court.
Tovar said the city will have solid leadership.
“I have known Juan since we were 4 years old,” Tovar said. “He’s been an awesome council member.
“We are going to be in amazing hands with our new mayor and our outstanding council. They are truly passionate. They put our community first.”
In addition to voting for Rodriguez, Tolleson voters last month approved Proposition 435, which authorizes the city to issue $21 million in bonds to fund parks and recreation projects—including an aquatic center.
Tolleson is not the only West Valley city planning a new city hall.
On Dec. 7, Goodyear City Council approved final plats for two parts of the ambitious, $87 million Goodyear Civic Square at Estrella Falls project.
Like Tolleson’s project, Goodyear plans a new library to go with a new city hall—with Goodyear’s development also planning offices and retail shops.