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Colangelo: For Phoenix to continue to grow, ‘someone else needs to take the reins’ with a vision

LISTEN: Phoenix Legend Jerry Colangelo

When Jerry Colangelo came to the Valley in 1968, he saw an opportunity for both physical and cultural growth.

The Chicago native envisioned a city with a thriving downtown that offered the finest forms of art, entertainment and sports.

Nearly 45 years later, the former Arizona Diamondbacks and Phoenix Suns owner and CEO can proudly say that his dream — in some shape or form — has come to fruition.

Phoenix has four professional sports teams, a sustainable downtown with plenty of restaurants and theaters to boot. And people have come. People have most certainly come.

According to the latest numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau, the Valley is the 13th largest metropolitan area in the U.S., so the question is how does it grow in stature and in popularity to be on par with the likes of Chicago, Los Angeles and Philadelphia?

“We refine who we are,” Colangelo told 92.3 KTAR’s Rob and Karie Friday. “We do things better. We have planned communities rather than out-and-out sprawl. I think that’s important, to do things in a more systematic way.

“The fact is, we’re going to come close to doubling in population over the next 20 years, at least that’s what some are predicting. We need to be ready. We need infrastructure. We need plans. We need people willing to commit themselves with vision. Someone else needs to take the rope, the reins if you will and do some real good master planning, so that we can maximize the opportunities that are going to be in Arizona.”

Colangelo noted that the Arizona Commerce Authority, which he’s heavily involved with, has done an excellent job taking that next step by putting the state in an excellent position to land employees from major companies like State Farm.

“We just have to be aggressive and competitive,” said Colangelo. “If you want to compete, you need to have tools. I think we have the tools to do that.”