Marana Town Talk: Roads are clean, the town is safe and the budget is healthy - The Explorer: Columns

Marana Town Talk: Roads are clean, the town is safe and the budget is healthy

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Ed Honea

Posted: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 4:00 am

Town council and staff are proud to say that Marana has been one of the region’s success stories over the past few years.

Between the 2000 and 2010 Census, we grew by almost 22,000 residents. By preparing for leaner days, even during the good times, we were able to ride out the recession. Our roads are clean, our town is safe and our budget is healthy.

The community’s recent accomplishments prove that Marana is a great place where we can all be proud to live. Our intentions are clear because we set priorities by using our Strategic Plan, an invaluable guide in our decision making and budgeting. The five focus areas cover a broad range of projects and initiatives that improve the quality of life in Marana.

Commerce: When the Town introduced the Marana Job Creation Incentive Program in 2010, Sargent Aerospace and Defense decided to stay here and build a 71,000-square-foot facility to expand its operations. Now, we’re investigating new incentives the Town can offer to benefit more companies that want to move here or expand their operations.  Town Council has already approved the concept of expanding the program and staff is getting close to rolling out new ideas.

Community: We realize how crucial it is to continue a dialogue with our citizens. Council members and staff make hundreds of trips into the community each year and, in 2012, we used our mobile town hall format to meet residents and see what they think about Marana. We made our rounds to homeowners associations and apartment complexes and pledge to continue the kind of discussions that make Marana such a great place to live and run a business.

Heritage: History is more important than ever to Marana. To prove it, the Town is partnering with the University of Arizona’s Drachman Institute to create a Heritage River Park that showcases the thousands of years people have called this region home. The park is envisioned as a place where Marana’s heritage is displayed through a demonstration farm, water feature, marketplace and equine facilities. The property’s proximity to the multiuse path and Santa Cruz River also represents a tremendous opportunity for recreation. We have an amazing story to tell and the park gives us an opportunity to do so in a unique and memorable way.

Progress/Innovation: Our efforts to improve citizen engagement through the use of new technology were recognized in November when the Town was named a top-ranked digital government by the e.Republic’s Center for Digital Government and Digital Communities Program. Marana was named the national winner among communities with between 30,000 and 74,999 residents. Over the past year, we re-launched our web site, introduced the free My Marana mobile app that allows users to interact with us and began keeping an electronic database of Town assets.

Recreation: Hiking enthusiasts love Marana because we build and maintain dozens of miles of trails in the beautiful Tortolita Mountains. In early 2012, we partnered with Pima County, Cottonwood Properties and the Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain to open the Wild Burro Trailhead in the Tortolitas. The trailhead has paved parking and restroom facilities for the thousands of outdoor enthusiasts who come here each year. Our parks and recreation staff members even lead free guided hikes through the Tortolitas year-round. Visit www.marana.com and our social media sites for more information.

These are just a few examples of ways we try making Marana the best place to live and do business in Southern Arizona. We are here to serve our residents and business owners and are happy they call our community home.

(Editors Note: Ed Honea is the mayor of the Town of Marana.)

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