September 20, 2006 - Oro Valley Mayor Paul Loomis issued his annual State of the Town on Sept. 14, stressing that Oro Valley is no longer just a bedroom community, but a maturing, multi-faceted town.

The Northern Pima County Chamber of Commerce hosted Oro Valley's annual event at the Hilton El Conquistador Golf and Tennis Resort. It drew more than 500 attendants, mostly from the town's business community.

Tim Booth, chairman of the chamber and general manager of the Hilton El Conquistador, introduced Loomis, calling him "someone you can count on," who's committed and hardworking. Voters elected Loomis to a third four-year term in May.

Loomis discussed the town's plans to preserve the past, noting that residents can learn from the town's history. He encouraged citizens to support efforts to protect nature, specifically mentioning Honey Bee Village.

"By working with the developer, the Tohono O'Odham Nation, the county and the state, we have been able to preserve the essential core of this Hohokam living area so that students, residents and visitors can learn about our past," Loomis said.

He credited Steve Soloman from Canada Vista Homes, who donated land to the Honey Bee Village preserve that would've been developed for residential use. Soloman is proof that public and private partnerships can work, Loomis said.

Loomis also beseeched audience members to support the Naranja Town Site, a proposed 213-acre recreational center that could cost $100 million.

"This is the type of amenity that we want and need in Oro Valley," Loomis said.

Loomis highlighted some of the town's accomplishments in the past year. The town has started phase two of the reclaimed water plan to use recycled water instead of ground water to feed golf courses and grass.

The mayor pointed out features in the business community, specifically a recent acquisition for one of Oro Valley's most coveted company's, Ventana Medical Systems. The medical product manufacture bought out Australian-based Vision Systems Limited, bringing more value to an already powerful company whose North American headquarters are in Oro Valley.

Loomis also welcomed Venture West to the Northwest Medical Center, and applauded pharmaceutical firm Sanofi-Aventis, which is expanding its Oro Valley operation.

Introducing Oro Valley's town manager, Loomis said, "I've been both a witness and a participant in our community's 'changing of the guard. We have seamlessly moved from the leadership of long-time Town Manager Chuck Sweet to that of our new manager, David Andrews."

Loomis gently touched on the town's financial problems, calling the situation "sound - for this fiscal year." But he said the town still must expand its retail sector.

The significant potential growth in Pinal County will have huge effects on Oro Valley, Loomis said, and he reminded audience members to stay tuned to developments of the 45 square miles of state land that could eventually come under the town's control.

Loomis said he's proud of what Oro Valley has accomplished in the past five years, and vowed to continue to carefully and responsibly plan Oro Valley.

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