GLENDALE, Ariz. — The Super Bowl is one of the biggest events of the year, and Glendale has had the explosive growth it needs to match it, city officials say. As the city gears up for the big event, all the preparations are falling into place.
Residents and attendees can expect roadway and parking improvements, top-of-the-line security, and a newly expanded entertainment district ahead of the big game. According to Glendale City Manager Kevin Phelps, it's a project that's been years in the making.
"While it is a lot of work, the work pales in comparison to the excitement for the region," Phelps said. "And we couldn't be more proud to have all the eyes of the world on us here coming up here in February."
With more than 50 local restaurants around the Westgate Entertainment District, Phelps says there are going to be all kinds of watch parties and opportunities for fans to feel like they're part of the Super Bowl experience.
Country music fans will also get a chance to see Tim McGraw perform live at Westgate on Saturday night ahead of the big game.
In addition to rebuilding Glendale Avenue and revamping signage around the entertainment district, Phelps says the city has doubled down on one area: Parking.
With roughly 23,000 parking spaces in and around the area, Glendale is also partnering with the NFL to provide shuttle services to and from the entertainment district.
Not only that but fans will get a chance to take a ride in a fully autonomous car during their visit. The Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee is partnering with Waymo to shuttle riders around town.
And with public safety as a top concern for the event, Phelps says Glendale is more than ready to keep fans safe.
"One of the things that Glendale has been a leader on here in the valley is the use of new technologies to kind of expand, you know, our eyes on the event," Phelps explained.
Phelps says that Glendale's new "real-time crime center" is going to help law enforcement coordinate top-of-the-line surveillance equipment across multiple departments to identify potential problems.
And Special Operations Division Commander Brandon Blanco with the Glendale Police Department says his team has the experience to back it up.
"So this will be our third Super Bowl that we've hosted," Blanco explained of Glendale. But it's the fifth that he himself has worked.
The department will collaborate with several local and federal law enforcement bodies to oversee the event. In addition to helicopter coverage, Commander Blanco says they'll also be using drone technology to keep an eye on everything from traffic conditions to police activity.
Blanco's team was part of the recent mass casualty training at Scottsdale stadium. As first responders prepare for every possibility, commander Blanco says he's feeling good.
"Actually, I'm excited. This is it; the good time of the year is really ramping up. I feel very comfortable, everything's in place."
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