The Rio Reimagined

Photo credit: Tim Roberts | Shutterstock

Join us for the Valley's most impactful green infrastructure project in a century.

A vital resource

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, once a perennial river, flowed through urban Maricopa County spawning early settlements and connecting diverse communities. For decades, community leaders and stakeholders have explored ways to reconnect the splendor of the river to Valley residents through ecosystem restoration, flood mitigation and economic development.

Photo credit: Weddle Gilmore | Floor Associates
Photo credit: Floor Associates | Weddle Gilmore

Reimagining the Rio Salado

This historically significant and underutilized natural resource has been reimagined as a unifying public space that enhances social equity. A creative and collective effort is needed to integrate priorities of public open space, environmental quality, housing, transportation, economic and workforce development, community sustainability and resilience.

Sustainable impact

This visionary project is designed to promote progressive commerce while ensuring an equitable, high quality, sustainable environment. Join us in cultivating a progressive identity for our river and its watershed. The time is now to redefine your Rio Salado as a community asset for all.

Photo credit: Tim Trumble
Connecting A Vast Valley

River Map

Explore the dynamic projects and partners engaged in the river corridor.

The geography

The Rio Reimagined project’s geographic span is a 58-mile stretch of the Rio Salado from Granite Reef Dam to State Route 85 including the Rio Salado and Gila Rivers. The Rio Reimagined belongs to the eight communities along the river corridor as they partner in creating a vibrant urban riverfront for the Valley.


Thanks to the early advocacy, leadership and generous support of U.S. Senator John McCain and Arizona State University, an active and diverse community partnership has begun to leverage broad support for the redevelopment and stewardship of the urban riverfront.

A Unifying Public Space

Get Involved

At the heart of this project is community. Check out upcoming events and experience anew your Rio Salado.

Museum of Walking
03 17 18
Museum of Walking - Rio Salado Habitat Restoration Area
March 17, 2018, 7am-11am
2439 S Central Avenue, Phoenix, AZ
theWALK is the second annual fundraising event for Museum of Walking taking place on Saturday, March 17, 2018 at the Rio Salado Habitat Restoration Area in downtown Phoenix, Arizona. Focusing on the everyday activity of walking and listening, this 90-minute walk presents an opportunity for the public to experience the cultural and historical significance of the Rio Salado site through meaningful community engagement, public health, wellness, and sustainability awareness. Read more about the walk from the month of March.
People standing around a fire pit at the Tempe Arts Center
03 30 18
Photo credit: Tempe Center for the Arts – Tim Trumble
The Rio Reimagined Public Launch
March 30, 2018 8:30 - 10:00am
Tempe Center for the Arts, 700 W Rio Salado Parkway, Tempe AZ 85281
Join us in support of U.S. Senator John McCain’s vision for the Valley’s most impactful revitalization project in a century. You are invited to become a part of a movement to redefine the future of our region and environment. Experience the launch of a legacy project for the benefit of our community, the reimagined Rio Salado.
Image of Generous Cities Summit info graphic
04 19-20 18
Generous Cities Summit
April 19th - 20th, 2018
ASU Memorial Union, 301 E Orange St, Tempe, AZ 85281
A two-day event hosted by the Arizona State University Biomimicry Center will consider how cities can become purpose-built, net producers of ecosystem services by taking inspiration from the ecosystems in which they are embedded. The second day will focus on the Rio Salado transformation into an urban and environmental amenity. Keynote speaker: Janine Benyus
Three wine glasses with white wine in them
04 29 18
Liberty Wildlife "Sippin' the Spirits of the Southwest" Spring Festival
Sunday, April 29th, 11am-3pm
2600 E Elwood St, Phoenix, AZ 85040
More Info to come
Read All About It

Stay Informed

Excitement surrounding the Rio Reimagined is building. Read on about the Project and its positive community impact.

At the request of Senator John McCain, a select group of Valley public and private leaders convened to discuss a collaborative vision for the future economic, social, and environmental vitality of the Rio Salado...
The Salt River gave life to the Valley. Then it tore it apart. More than 100 years after dams dried up the portion of the river that cut across the Phoenix metropolitan area, some of Arizona's most influential leaders are trying to put...
It's a myth that Phoenix is a new city. This is not a "new" place. It's an ancient one. And few who live here understand how events thousands of years ago set the stage for the largest metropolis in Arizona and the fifth largest city in America...
Moderated by; Wellington Reiter, FAIA
Special Advisor to President
Office of University Affairs

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Photo credit: Jon Rapp Photography

Together we can create our environmental future.

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