A year has passed. The year 2010 is about to fade into “bolivian”, as Mike Tyson said after his last fight. He meant to say “oblivion”; instead, the furious, troubled and tattooed Tyson, who was inducted into the Boxing Hall of Fame this year, raised eyebrows in an entire South American nation.
But back to 2010. We should mark it as neither “good” nor “bad.” It has had its moments, its memories, its movement. The Northwest and its communities are not exactly the same as they were a year ago.
In what ways?
Well, for starters, the Marana Town Council and its staff spent nearly all of 2010 considering whether to allow a large commercial landfill on newly annexed ground on the town’s western edge. In the end, in November, the council said “yes.” Permissions must follow. Still, it’s a huge development with multiple implications and facets.
Sargent Controls is expanding its Marana operation. The community’s housing industry has shown more resilience than expected. A beautiful, large, new Marana Health Center is rising near the municipal complex. The world’s premier match play golf tournament is back at the Ritz-Carlton. A new interchange, at Twin Peaks, and the Twin Peaks Road between Continental Ranch and Dove Mountain are changing the ways people live.
Marana lost its matriarch, Ora Mae Harn, in July. Her spirit and memory are being preserved, and they must be nurtured to not be lost. Another notable Marana passing was that of Wheeler Taft Abbett Sr., benefactor of the library branch that bears his name.
Oro Valley has elected new leadership; the town council has seen a majority of its seats turn over, and a new mayor has taken office. A new tone emits from town hall. The former tone was fine for its time; this one has a different sound, less bickering, more encouraging, and it’s welcome.
Oro Valley should be encouraged. In the last year, it has formally dedicated the splendid Sanofi-aventis research facility, opened the new BASIS Charter School, seen the University of Arizona acquire Sanofi-aventis’ former lab space and open BIO5 Oro Valley, and heard the good word from Ventana Medical Systems and its parent, Roche Pharmaceuticals, that expansion and job growth are on their way.
Both Oro Valley and Marana have terrific opportunities. It’s great to see their town councils shall meet in joint session during January, working together toward a greater good.
In politics, the voters of Arizona passed Proposition 100, committing their own hard-won money to a higher sales tax that supports schools and public safety. Don’t be misled, though; state-funded governments still spend more than they take in, and a tax-fearing, Republican-dominated Legislature is going to reduce spending and related services. The anxiety of school funding decisions seen last spring is likely to be repeated in 2011. It was good to see Marana voters pass a bond issue to take care of their facilities. Self-reliance is essential these days.
Legislative Districts 25 and 26 send very conservative, partially experienced delegations to Phoenix. May they learn quickly and govern wisely.
The Northwest is diversifying its economy. Still, though, it remains housing dependent. New money may be injected into the Saguaro Springs development in Marana, and new money is in place for the Residences at the Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain. Don’t forget, too, about the giant that shall unfold closer to Oracle. SaddleBrooke Ranch is going to be the next Robson Communities force in Southern Arizona, and its new clubhouse, which opened this fall, is simply spectacular.
Milestones have passed. The Ironwood Forest National Monument is a decade old. Tohono Chul Park is 25 years young. More achievements, more places in time, are ahead.
Change is coming. Embrace, rather than resist. Thank you, always, for reading, and may your 2011 be filled with good health, prosperity and joy.