New parks, animal services, national recognitions and plenty of new businesses: Regardless of the metrics, Marana is a premier place to live, work and play.

That was the major takeaway from the 2018 State of the Town address last Thursday, April 19 at the Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain. The gathering is an opportunity for the mayor and town staff to relay the successes of the previous year to the community. This year’s master of ceremonies was longtime Marana resident (and former Broadway performer) Jack Neubeck. The address was hosted by the Marana Chamber of Commerce.

“Marana is an incredibly special place for my family and me,” said Neubeck, who’s been involved in a variety of positions throughout Marana. “It’s where we’ve decided to put down roots. I may not be from Marana originally, but it’s where I’ve chosen to make a home. I’ve made that choice because of the incredible residents and businesses we have here.”

Neubeck’s sentiment acted as the unofficial theme of the event, and was touched upon by the mayor and several town staff who spoke at the address. For its part, the town has been recently named “One of the most successful cities in Arizona,” the “third best small city in Arizona” and one of the state’s “Top-10 Cities to Live In” via several online career-planning and demographic-tracking websites.

Marana Mayor Ed Honea said he is “very proud” of such recognition.

“That is really important to us.” he said.

While many State of the Town addresses are focused on a mayor’s vision for the municipality, Honea uses the gathering as an opportunity to share the limelight with his staff and discuss what they believe Marana is doing right.

Town economic development director Curt Woody said that opportunities don’t happen, “you create them,” and that Marana has been creating its own opportunities since 1977. Since then, Woody said, council and town leadership has positioned Marana to reap the benefits of opportunity. 

Some of that success comes from the 19 miles of Interstate 10 which bisects the town, a factor in the opening of Tucson Premium Outlets and more recently Top Golf within Marana. Also new to the region is a Northwest Medical Emergency Center that opened in February and a Hampton Inn and Suites that will soon reach completion. 

“We’ve coined Marana as the ‘Gateway to Southern Arizona’ and many people are discovering what this beautiful town has to offer,” Woody said.

The growing commercial development has brought with it a boost in the town’s housing market, Woody said, which has manifested in Marana leading Southern Arizona in new single family residential permits—and even more growth to come in the form of several new developments: Linda Vista Village, Twin Peaks Vista Subdivision, The Preserve at Twin Peaks Subdivision, the Encantada Luxury Apartments and a variety of senior living homes. 

Woody also mentioned the town’s recently developed animal services department in partnership with the Humane Society of Southern Arizona and the soon-to-open park facilities in the form of Tangerine Sky Community Park and Honea Heights Pocket Park.

While the town has plenty of accomplishments upon which to hang its metaphorical hat, parks and recreation director Jim Conroy shared with the several hundred State of the Town attendees that Marana is a destination “that continues to grow, continues to adapt, and continues to offer new and exciting amenities.”

The town recently updated its strategic plan, what Conroy called “a blueprint” for the community’s prosperous future. That blueprint includes developing the Marana Main Street in the Downtown District and North Marana, maintaining (and improving) infrastructure, developing strong economic development plans, developing the local workforce and developing more recreation opportunities.

“It is a great honor working here at the Town of Marana during this exciting time as we pave the way for our future,” Conroy said.


The Marana Brand

While much of the State of the Town address focused on Marana’s achievements and plans for the future, several members of the community were recognized for their own contributions to the town’s success story.

For her selfless dedication to the region’s disadvantaged children and commitment to improving the region’s health, Monica Fowler of Fowler Chiropractic was presented with the Marana Branding Iron Award. Fowler is a Marana resident, a member and ambassador of the Marana Chamber of Commerce and chair of the Health and Wellness Committee.

According to Marana Communications Manager Vickie Hathaway, Marana’s Branding Irons are awarded every year to one individual and one organization that have made a “lasting mark on Marana.”  The awards also represent the town’s agrarian and ranching origins.

Northwest Landscaping LLC, represented by Glenn Brchan and Chris Fisher, was awarded the organization award. Hathaway said the company was recognized for “the positive impacts they’ve had on the community.”

“This organization has made themselves an essential part of the community and serves as an excellent example of how businesses can create impactful relationships with their neighbors,” Hathaway said.

For the second year in a row, the town also recognized a member of the community’s youth population with the Youth Legacy Award. The 2018 recipient was Marana High School alumna Alicia Sanchez. 

Hathaway said that recipients of the award “benefit others by addressing the hearts, bodies and minds of their peers.”

Sanchez participated in the Criminal Justice Career and Technical Education course at Marana High School and during her senior year participated in the “Marana 2.0” internship program. While an intern she developed an event which formed relationships between Marana Police Department officers and MHS students.

“By bringing officers and students together, Alicia has contributed toward promoting a healthy and supportive environment for youth and has created an educational opportunity to enrich the minds of her peers,” Hathaway said.

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