Water issues, construction projects top
Saying Marana “refuses to stand still,” Mayor Ed Honea thinks his native community has “much to celebrate and more to accomplish.
“Marana is a place you can believe in,” Honea said during his state of the town address on Thursday, April 17, at Marana Middle School.
Honea touched upon an array of topics for an audience of some 300. He mentioned successes, and detailed goals.
“Of course, there remain many things to accomplish. Our work here never will be complete. No town or city can reach that unreachable goal. But that does not mean we won’t keep trying,” Honea said.
He received greatest applause in discussing the city’s work on floodplain designation with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the bidding schedule for the Twin Peaks interchange on Interstate 10, and a reference to keeping the PGA Tour Accenture Match Play golf tournament in Marana for at least four years beyond its current contract.
Honea talked about Marana’s selection as one of 17 finalists for the National Civic League’s All-America City Award. “Our town fits the criteria that winners must meet,” the mayor said. He is leading a small delegation to Tampa on June 4 through 6 for the competition and announcement of award winners. “I am confident we will come back with great news and further acknowledgment that Marana is an outstanding community, truly an All-America City.”
The audience was filled with government officials, among them representatives of Oro Valley, Pima County, the city of Tucson, the town of Sahuarita and other county municipalities. The Marana High School advanced women’s choir performed the national anthem. At the event’s conclusion, Honea’s wife Jan was presented a bouquet of roses.
“It’s easy to see why I’m so enthusiastic about where Marana is and where we’re going,” Honea said. “We believe in the power of community and the importance of each and every person who lives or does business here. The Town is committed to all of you. All we ask is that you continue to believe in us … Council, Town management and staff. We are here to serve you and we all have the same goal: to make Marana the best possible place to live.”
The following are excerpts of Honea’s speech:
“First on our to-do list is reaching a resolution in our water and wastewater situations, because nothing takes priority over securing those resources for our citizens. We believe in self-determination. That’s why we are trying to regain our wastewater service from Pima County and investigating the possibility of purchasing water infrastructure from the City of Tucson. It’s an offer made by the City that we won’t fully pursue until we are able to secure the renewable water that would need to be delivered to those customers.”
The floodplain designation
Honea said Marana is “in the final stages of a comprehensive floodplain study that will show who is in and who is out of the floodplain. The Federal Emergency Management Agency is trying to place much of Northwest Marana – mostly west of I-10 – in the floodplain because of the highly unlikely event of flooding off the Tortolita Mountains. The Town disagrees because we have several structures between Marana and the mountains, including the Central Arizona Project canal, Cortaro Marana Irrigation District canals, Union Pacific railroad tracks and Interstate 10. All of those manmade structures effectively serve as levees during such an unimaginable flood.
“A preliminary analysis of the true floodplain is scheduled to be submitted to the Town, Pima County Flood Control District and Pinal County Flood Control District in May for review. Once the local jurisdictions agree on the analysis, it will be forwarded to FEMA headquarters in June. We believe the study will show that most of the potentially affected area is not prone to flooding off the Tortolita Mountains because these levee-like structures do provide protection. In recent weeks, FEMA has been more willing to work with us on this issue …”
Work “is progressing on Thornydale Road,” with construction about to begin on Silverbell from Ina to Cortaro. “Tangerine Farms Road is about to open, which will remove a significant amount of traffic from Moore Road and the frontage road and give North Marana residents and visitors easy access to Interstate 10 and Tangerine Road. The Town also plans to begin receiving bids this summer on the Twin Peaks Interchange. That roadway will give Continental Ranch and Continental Reserve residents and visitors a clear path to the interstate and will open the east side of the freeway to the west side, eventually connecting Dove Mountain to Continental Ranch. These roadway improvements are necessary for our community.”
“Plans are moving forward for two regional malls in Marana. Both will include more than one million square feet of retail space. Westcor … continues working with Town staff on planning for the Shops at Tangerine, which will be located at the Interstate 10/Tangerine Road interchange. … The second mall, Marana Spectrum, will be located between Interstate 10 and Linda Vista Boulevard. A critical component of this project is the Twin Peaks Interchange, which will connect I-10 to Spectrum. …Having these two large shopping destinations in Town will give Marana residents more options and make our community whole. Our residents deserve to have more goods and services within a more viable driving distance and the Town is doing everything it can to make that a reality.”
Golf and baseball
The PGA Accenture Match Play tournament was played at Dove Mountain for the second year in a four-year deal this past February. The event will be moved next year to one of the two new Jack Nicklaus-designed courses at the new Ritz-Carlton development in northwest Marana.
“While the contract to host the event ends after the 2010 tournament, I’m happy to report that discussions have been held with the goal of keeping the match play here for at least another four years after the current contract expires. We want to get used to an annual visit from Tiger Woods.
“We also are working with all regional partners to assure that spring training baseball has a home in Southeastern Arizona. Marana would be a natural place for one or two teams to play in a new facility. With the proper partnerships and adequate funding, we could one day have Cactus League representation in our community.”
Building a downtown Marana
“We believe in the importance of a thriving downtown. As many of you know, we lost our downtown in the 1960s when Interstate 10 was constructed. I’m here to tell you that plans are moving forward to build a single central business district that will make all of us proud. The Marana Health Center already has purchased land to place a new, modern facility across the street from the Marana Municipal Complex. We also have spoken with numerous individuals who want to invest in our downtown by bringing much-needed shopping and housing to Northwest Marana. We believe in the importance of a downtown in our community where our citizens can gather to enjoy life in Marana.”
Development of a cemetery
“Another critical component of our heritage is being addressed by a group of investors who are moving through the development process to establish a cemetery in Town. We have lost important parts of our history by not having a final resting place for our citizens. We are making sure that doesn’t continue to happen. We are working toward establishing a complete community, one that fulfills all the needs of its residents.”